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THE 



FOEEST AND CHACE 

OF 

MALVEEN, 

ITS J^ISTOTSHSTT & PBESE2JT STATE; 



WITH NOTICES OP THE MOST 



REMARKABLE OLD TREES 

REMAINING WITHIN ITS CONFINES. 



BY EDWIN LEES, F.L.S., F.G.S., 

Fellow of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, <&c, 
Vice-Pbbsident of the Malvern & Worcestershire Naturalists' Clubs. 



(Reprinted from the Transactions of the Malvern Naturalists' Field Club.) 



WORCESTER: 
PRINTED AT THE HERALD OFFICE, 72, HIGH-STREET. 

1877. 



FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN, 

ITS ANCIENT AND PBESENT STATE; 
WITH NOTICES Of 

THE MOST REMARKABLE OLD TREES 

BEMAomra wituih its oohkhis, 
BY EDWIN LEES, F.L.S., F.G.S., 

TXOB-PBBBXDIVT Or TBI MiXTOL* AKD WOBONTCIBSHXBI Fold Clubs. 



" Bat now I tarn 
From hill* that in the distance die away, 
To mark the subject Chact ;— Trees that just flat 
Above the tufted fern in broken line 
Of tasteless order, with the banks of earth, 
Hedges, enclosures, and the mouldering trunks 
Clad in their russet dress, proclaim that man 
With sacrilegious hand hath laboured hard 
To tame its wild luxuriance." 



— Cbtttfl Mahxm HiXU. 



Change has passed upon the country once designated as 
"Malvern Chace" since its disafforestation in the reign of 
Charles the 1st, when the "beasts of venery" strayed over its 
unenclosed woods, and when the neighbouring occupiers of 
land were compelled under the forest laws to submit to the 
visitations of stray deer without daring to prevent their 
trespasses, and a Court sitting at Hanley had jurisdiction over 
all matters appertaining to the Chace, while the Chief Forester • 



2 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

axe was at times brought down upon the neck of any unfor- 
tunate marauder who could not show good cause for being 
found within the sacred pale of "the said Chace." But almost 
to the close of the last century the Chace was a great unen- 
closed waste, for in the memory of men living but a few years 
since, a person could have ridden on horseback from Great 
Malvern to the top of Bredon Hill and found no impediment 
to his course save only the passage of the Severn, and that 
could be crossed at Upton Bridge. 

,It is scarcely possible to form an adequate idea of the 
appearance of the Forest of Malvern in the early times prior 
to the Norman Conquest, but at that period the monkish 
chronicler, William of Malmesbury, mentions it as " a wilder- 
ness thick set with trees." Previous to that time the whole 
$ountry from the hills to the Severn must have been a waste 
tract, fit only for the lair of wolves* and other savage animals ; 
and in places not covered by trees or underwood, except where 
a few bare eminences like the Wold Hills contrasted with the 
gloomy forest scene, was a fiat marshy expanse with difficulty 
explorable by day, and a dangerous extent of immeasurable 
gloom at night. This tract of land west of the Severn was 
included in the country of the Silures, but it was probably 
only visited on bunting forays, for no traces have been 
discovered of any permanent occupation, and scarcely a single 
British implement has been anywhere exhumed, nor are 
memorial stones or sepulchral barrows to be found.f Very 

* In the 13th year of the reign of Henry II. three shillings was ordered to be 
paid to the hunter in Worcestershire who caught the wolves in the Forest ; and the 
said hunter or his successor had similar orders in his favour for wolf-killing, 17th 
and 27th years of Henry II., and in the 5th year of the reign of King John. See 
Wash, Hist. Worcesb, vol. 1, p. 130. But as late as the reign of Edward I. wolves 
were numerous in the forests of Worcestershire and the adjacent counties, for Peter 
Corbet was directed by a special mandate of that monarch to, superintend and assist 
in the destruction of them. 

' *r At Pendock are traces of a dyke that extended across the country towards 
Corse Lawn (Cors bum, Celtic)— a~ boundary probably to British tribes. Except a 
"broMe celt found at Great Malvern more than naif a century ago, and a curious cup 
of rude earthenware discovered buried with burned human bones on the summit of 
*hfc Worcestershire Beacon; ^nothing hat been hitherto 'met- with iirthe (Strict to 
mark the occupation xrf man in pre-historic time* 



THE FOBKST A»X> CBAC1 OF tULTOK % 

few Celtic names remain in the district, and with the excep- 
tion of Malvern, and perhaps Pendock, all the names of 
parishes are evidently of Saxon origin. Nor did the Romans 
mark their presence visibly in the flat country between the 
Malvern Hills and the Severn, for no decided Roman road 
crosses the Chace, nor have any Roman remains (a few coins 
excepted) been found in it except near Upton, where there 
seems to have been a Camp, or secondary Station, probably to 
guard the ford across the Severn; and another Soman or 
rather auxiliary Camp existed at Kempsey, four miles below 
Worcester, but this was on the eastern bank of the river. 
The Saxons do not appear to have entirely conquered the 
country between the Severn and the Wye before the reign of 
Athelstan, and whether they did much more than divide the 
Chace into parishes does not clearly appear. Some grants 
of land were probably made by Saxon kings, and Edward the 
Confessor exercised that right; but the greater part of the 
Chace must have been unappropriated, and as forest ground 
was therefore seized upon by the Norman sovereigns. 

The distinction between a Forest and a Chace is, that the 
former was Royal property, but the latter could be held by 
a subject. Tanner, alluding to the hermitage here in Edward 
the Confessors reign, says it was "in the wild Forest;" and 
the hills and the country all around their bases for many 
miles was generally termed a wilderness, and is so called by 
William of Malmesbury. To what extent the Saxon monarchs 
claimed this tract of country does not clearly appear; but 
under William the Conqueror it was considered and held to be 
Boyal property, and so continued till it was granted by Edward 
the First to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, commonly 
called the Red Knight, on his marriage with Jean d' Acres, the 
Kings daughter. According to legal technicality, no subject 
could own a Forest, and therefore the name was altered to 



I THI FOBxOT AND CHACE Of MALVEBK. 

that of Chace. Leland, who wrote temp. Henry VIII., saya— 
"The Chace of Malverne is bigger than either Wire or 
Feckingham, and occnpieth a great part of Malverne Hills. 
Great Malverne and Little Malverne also is set in the Chace 
of Malverne. Malverne Chace (as I hear say) is in length in 
some places twenty miles; but Malverne Chace doeth not 
occupy all Malverne Hills." Other authors describe it as 
extending from the river Teme in the north to Cors Forest 
(now Corse Lawn) in the south, and from the river Severn 
on the east to the top of Malvern Hill westward.* This last 
boundary was so indeterminate that the Bishops of Hereford 
who possessed lands at Mathon and Colwall, and who claimed 
the western side of the hills for their hunting ground to the 
summit of the ridge, had a great dispute with the potent Bed 
Earl, which it is said was only ended by a trench being dug 
along the crest of the hill to divide the possessions of the 
disputants. This trench still remains very clearly marked on 

* In certain depositions by virtue of a Commission taken at Hanley Hall on the 
18th June, 32nd of Queen Elizabeth, before Sir John Russell, Knt, and others, 
and which are printed in Nash's Worcestershire, the boundaries of the Chace as 
practically understood thus appear. Henry Dingley deposed that, " He being one 
of the riders of the said Chace, did ride in circuit from a cross called the Cross in 
North-end Green, in the manor of Hanley Castle, unto the Cliffy Wood, near 
Severn side thereon, from thence to Eighteen holders in Powick, thence unto 
Bransf ord Bridge, so to the Link. And the keeper of the said wood called the Cliffy 
Wood, did ride then with this deponent and others unto the Shewstone. He did 
also ride from a place called the Sweet Oaks unto Welland parish ; so by Castle 
Morton, then to Birch Morton, to divers houses, to the Berrow and Eeysend ; then 
to Oxbrummel Pool All which parishes with others are in the precincts of the 
Chace of Malvern." John Browne, of Malvern Magna, yeoman, aged 74, being 
sworn, deposed that he had known the Chace of Malvern these sixty years. " This 
deponent saith, that these parishes and hamlets have been and are always reputed 
to be within the liberties and precincts of the Chace :— viz., Castle Morton, Birch 
Morton, the Berrow, Bromsberrow, Malvern Parva, Malvern Magna, part of Ligh 
called Hawsell ; Mathon, and Callow within the county of Hereford are likewise 
within the said precinct." It is rather curious that Hanley, Powick, and Longdon, 
certainly within the limits of the Chace as well as Welland, are here left out 
Bushley and Pendock seem never to have been included strictly in the Chace, being 
probably ancient grants belonging to the church. The inhabitants of Hanley seem 
to have had peculiar privileges, as in a " Memorandum of the ancient liberties, 
customs, &c., of the Lordship and franchise of Handley," given by Nash from a 
MS. in the possession of the Lechmere family, it is said .—"Item the tenants and 
inhabitants of Handley may common with their cattle from a certain place called 
Maysmore Bridge in the county of Gloucester unto Powick's Bridge and Bransford 
Bridge in the county of Worcester, as by way of straying and going out of the said 



SHE FOEEST AND CHACE OJ MALVBBK. 5 

the hills in several places, and is particularly evident on the 
Worcestershire Beacon. 

There is some confusion in writers on the history of the 
Ghace of Malvern, as to the occasion on which this trench 
was made, though it was clearly meant as a boundary line. 
Chambers (copying I presume from Dr. Nash) states, that the 
ditch was made to " divide the possessions of the Bishop of 
Hereford from the Chace, and to limit the two counties." 
This would obviously appear to be correct ; but Dr. Thomas, 
whose version of the matter I have given further on, says that 
the trench had been made " to the damage of the Church of 
Worcester, and hence the controversy" on the. subject 
between the Eed Earl and Bishop Godfrey Giffard.* 

Dr. Thomas, I presume on documentary evidence, proceeds 
to give his account of the transaction as follows : — " On the 
eve of the Lady Day, 1289-90, there was a Court held by 
the King at Feckenham, and enquiries made throughout the 
whole county, who had transgressed in hunting in that Forest, 



* There appears to have been distinct disputes between Thomas de Cantilupe, 
Bishop of Hereford, and Earl de Clare, and Godfrey Giffard, Bishop of Worcester, 
and the same earl. The first dispute commenced in 1278, and seems to have been 
litigated for some years ; this was as to the boundary of the Chace westward, and it 
is stated in Magna Britannia that judges were appointed to view the lands in debate, 
who held a Court in the Chace, but there is no account how they determined the 
matter. Some compromise was probably agreed to, for according to Dr. Thomas, 
" the admirable ditch," so lauded by various writers, was formed A.D. 1287 as a 
boundary to Earl Gilbert's possessions, yet Colwall and Mathon remained as mem- 
bers of Malvern Chace with privileges for the commoners and inhabitants. At first 
sight it does not appear what injury the great ditch could do to Godfrey Giffaid, 
Bishop of Worcester, unless he had lands in Mathon, yet in the Latin charter 
printed by Dr. Thomas from the original, the ground of complaint is thus stated : — 
"videlicet de uno fossato levato per nos comitem et Johannam in summitate raontis 
Malverne, super terrain dicti episcopi, ad nocumentum et dampnum ejusdem 
epiacopi." The trench was on land within the diocese of Worcester, and the trench 
had been made evidently without the Bishop's licence, which in those superstitious 
times might be considered necessary, and some nominal right claimed by the 
punctilious prelate, which he thus gives up for two bucks and two does as an annual 
acknowledgment : — " Dedimus etiam et concessimus" both for the prior and church 
of Worcester, '* et pro nobis et successoribus nostris, omnes terras et tenements 
cum juribus et pertenentiis suis que extra fossatum illud et eidem fossato csntigua 
verms comitatum Hereford habuimus, pref atis comiti et comitisse, et heredibus et 
assignatis suis; et omnino de cetero auietum damamus eisdem, pro nobis et 
successoribus nostris, et priore et capitulo, ad ecdesia nostra Wygorniensi in 
perpetuum." So at last the ditch with the Bishop's blessing was permitted to rest 
in peace, and the haunches of venison no doubt duly appeared at the episcopal 
table while the Chace existed and its deer remained. 



fHB FOfiSST AND CHACE OP MALVEEir* 

tod many were imprisoned, and others that were indicted fdt 
the same found six sureties for their appearance before the 
King at Wodestoke on the nones of April, to hear his sentence 
of mercy or judgement, and because there was no other equity 
but the King's will, the Bishops (of Worcester) redemption 
was taxed at five hundred marks, and the Prior's at two 
Hundred. About this time he (Godfrey Giffard) had a con* 
troversy with Gilbert de Glare, Earl of Gloucester, and Jean 
his wife," &o * 

The Bishops of Norman times appear to have taken as 
much interest in hunting affairs as the Barons ; for the 
Bishop of Worcester made a claim to land within this Forest, 
and in the 8th year of Richard I., John de Constantiis, then 
Bishop, had liberty granted him " to assartf in his own wood 
in the Forest of Malverne, near to the Mill of Wentland, three 
hundred acres of land for the use of the Church of St. Mary 
at Worcester, to hold to him and his successors for ever, and 
to do herewith what they would free from all exactions of 
the Foresters." The dispute that ensued between the then 
Bishop of Worcester (Godfrey Giffard) and the Earl, as 
to the formation of the great ditch before alluded to, was 
ended after long contention, by the mediation of Robert 
Burnel) Bishop of Bath and Wells, and it was agreed 
that the Earl and his Countess should pay yearly to the 
Bishop and his successors a brace of bucks and a brace of 

* Surv. Worcest Cath., 4to, pp. 148-9. 

+ To assart (from the old French word assarter to grub up), was a curious custom 
of allowing the Church and certain favoured individuals the privilege of cultivating 
portions of land within the Forest, and holding them for a time without paying any 
rent for the same. The assarter after the trees on the land alloted him had been 
cut down, grubbed up the stumps, and made the land arable as long as it was worth 
cultivating without the application of manure. After that it was abandoned and 
left to become Forest land again, and other ground was assarted. This may 
account for traces of the plough where the ground has been undisturbed in the 
memory of man. I presume that some of the parties who obtained a grant of 
Assart on the edge of the Chace, on some pretence or other not only assarted it, 
but never let it get within the Forest pale again ; for in some late sales by auction 
,of estates about Malvern the term "Assart lands" is introduced, as distinguishing 
certain plots— probably cribbed from to* Chace. ,.. 



THE FOfiSST ATO GHAGSOF XALYEEK 7» 

does out of the Chace of Malvern, at his Palace of Kemsey :*• 
and in the vacancy of the see the same to be paid to the Prior 
and Convent of Worcester, demanding them by their attorney 
at the Castle of Hanley, which agreement was afterwards con* 
firmed by King Edward I., at Norham, in the 19th year of 
his reign. This dispute with Bishop Godfrey Giffard+ occurring 
with the Bed Earl, was after the making of the famous trench 
on the hill, and indeed Dr. Thomas, in his "Antiquities of 
Great Malvern Priory," distinctly says that the trench waa 
made by Gilbert Earl of Gloucester, because the beasts of the 
wood (deer, &c.,) frequently crossed the hills from Worcester- 
shire into Herefordshire, and did not return.J Further on he 
states that a dispute arose between Thomas de Cantelupe, 
Bishop of Hereford, and Earl Gilbert and his son Thomas, as 
to the rights of the former in respect to the limits of Ms 
Chace ; and then he states the trench was made as a boundary 
between their possessions. If the trench was originally no 
deeper than it is now, it could have been of little use except 
as a nominal boundary, unless paling was superadded. But 
the documents that Dr. Nash has printed in his History of 
Worcestershire, under Hanley Castle, show that there was a 

i 

* Whatever "damage to the Bishop and his Church," as Dr. Thomas puts it, 
the proceedings of Earl Gilbert de Clare as to his famous trench or otherwise was 
likely to have effected, the compensation made as a solatium was literally this, viz., 
that the Bishop and his successors should have two good bucks, " tempore 
pinguedinis," on the Eve of the Assumption, and two good does, "tempore 
Jermissionis" on Christmas Eve, out of the Chace of Malvem, yearly at the 
Bishop's manor of Kempsey, by the delivery of the Earl and Countess, and for 
want of payment tbe same to be doubled toties quoties, and distress taken of the 
goods of the said Earl ; the same in the vacancy of the see to be delivered to 
the Prior and Convent of Worcester, upon demand made by their attorney at the 
gate of the Earl's Castle of Hanley, to be delivered by his constable there. Such 
was the pertinacity with which Godfrey Giffard insisted upon his presumed rights, 
. and the formality with which compensation was alloted to him. — See the original 
Latin Charter in Dr. Thomas's Antiq. Prior. Maj. Malv., p. 159. 

t This prelate was very tenacious, of his assumed rights, and pressed them to the 
utmost, for Dr. Nash mentions that he had a dispute with William Beauchamp, 
Earl of Warwick, as to the Warren on Bredon Hill. See Nash, Hist. Worced* 
vol. 1, p. 130. 

t "Quia bestiro sylvse transeuntes terminos Herefordensee frequenter ibant, et 
nan. reyertehantur, Gilbertus comes Gloucestri® super Malveroiae montei foiftfttnm 
fecit"— Thomas, Antifc prior. *uy. M&v** 8vo* p. ci. •, « 



8 SHI fOUBT AND GBAGI OP MALVDUf. 

M shire ditoh," which must have existed prior (o the Gloucester 
ditch ; and the latter could have extended no farther along 
the hills than the boundaries of Colwall, where the Bishops of 
Hereford had a country residence, relics of which yet remain. 
Indeed it seems most likely that the formation of the ditch 
with its palisades by the Bed Earl stopping the deer from 
straying into Herefordshire, was the grievance the sport-loving 
prelate of the see of Hereford complained of. It is, however, 
rather curious that by a regulation " made by the Law-day 
and Court of Hanley, 'there holden the 23rd day of June, in 
the 81st of Henry VIII., 1540,° it was ordered "that none of 
the inhabitants of GoldwaU or Mathon do from henceforth 
staff-drive any kind of their cattle into the Ghace further than 
the shire-ditch, after the old custom, on pain of 20 shillings. 
And that none of the said inhabitants do cross any of the 
chace-wood growing on this side of the shire-ditch, over the 
hill, upon payment of 20 shillings." This seems like a re- 
vival of the old dispute between the Bed Earl and the Bishop 
of Hereford, and suggests that this "shire-ditch" and the 
trench called after the Earl of Gloucester were identical. 
Possibly the Earl only widened and deepened the old shire- 
ditch so that, as Camden says, it was " still to be seen with 
admiration." 

Beginald Brian, who was translated to the see of Worcester 
in 1352, appears to have been a very keen sportsman, and 
likely enough hunted in the Chace of Malvern. In an extant 
MS. epistle of his addressed to the Bishop of St. David's,* 
he reminds his brother prelate of a promise which he had 
made to send him six brace of excellent hunting dogs, the 
best (the reverend sportsman confesses) that he had ever 
seen ; of these, " Beginald, by divine permission Bishop of 
Worcester," says, that he had been in daily anxious expecta- 
tion; and he declares that his heart languished for their 

• Quoted in DanW't " Roil Sport*? *** 



THE FOREST AND CHACB OP HALVEBIC. g 

arrival. "Let them come, then," he entreats, "0 reverend 
father, without delay ; let my woods re-echo with the music of 
their cry and the cheerful notes of the horn ; and let the walls 
of my palace be decorated with the trophies of the chace." 
Truly Reginald Brian was a jolly sportsman, and perhaps not 
the worse ecclesiastic as customs and recreations then pre- 
vailed. The inferior clergy of those days perhaps loved 
hunting as well as the Bishops, for by Act of Parliament in 
the reign of Richard II., all priests or clerks, whose benefices 
are not of the yearly value of ten pounds, are prohibited from 
keeping any greyhound or other dog for hunting, or using 
engines for destroying deer, hares, or other game, under pain 
of a year's imprisonment 

Malvern Chace had its peculiar laws and customs, even 
after it became the property of a subject, and " the Foresters" 
had very considerable power within its limits, extending even 
to judicial functions. It is stated in documents given in the 
appendix to the Forests, in Nash's Worcestershire, that the 
Foresters only had authority to arrest every felon for felony 
and murder "found within the said Chace," and they were to 
bring him before the chief Forester, who held of the chief 
lord in fee by a certain rent of an axe and an horn ; and 
he had power to sit in judgment on the said felonies 
and murders, as also to execute the office of coroner, and 
if the persons tried were found guilty .by a verdict of twelve 
men thereupon charged and sworn, of the four next town- 
ships adjoining unto the place where the said felony and 
murder was done, his head was to be struck off with the 
Forester's axe at a place called Sweet Oaks within the said 
Chace, where they always sat in judgment on such persons, 
and the body was to be carried unto the height of Malvern 
Hill unto a place called Baldeyate, and there to be hanged 
on a gallows and so to remain, unless license was granted 



10 1HB TOEEST AHD GHAQB0P KALVISK 

by the chief Forester to take it down.* It does not appear 
that " the chief Forester" was bound to be learned in the 
law, and perhaps a poor fellow obnoxious to the chief or 
any other Forester, if "found within the said Chace," might 
have had but scant justice alloted to him, and his head 
be placed in unpleasant proximity to the Forester's axe. 
With regard to persons hunting unlawfully, or poaching in 
the Chace, it is recorded that — " if any of the Foresters find 
any person or persons hunting within the said Chace, or 
bounds thereof, or standing suspiciously, viz. : stable-standing, 
with hounds drawing, or bloody hands, the same Forester 
shall attach him or them, and bring them into the Castle 
of Handley, there to remain prisoners in a place called 
Banbury Chamber, until they have found sureties of their 
good harbouring against the game by obligation in C shillings 
to the lord's use, to be levied upon the forfeiture of them 
or their surety."f One hundred shillings was rather a large 
fine for trespassing in search of game, and of course 
" homble-pie" — if indeed any pie was allowed — would be the 
diet alloted to prisoners in the "Banbury Chamber," not 
in all probability very comfortably fitted up. 

The lord of the Lordship of Hanley was the chief lord 
of this Chace, and of all the royalties of it, and appointed 
the constable of the Castle of Hanley, the parker of Black- 
more, the steward, the bailiff, the master of the game, four 
foresters, and a ranger, to hold once in the year a lord day 
and a court baron ; and every three weeks to determine all 
manner of pleas and trespasses, debts, or detainer, which 

* The document printed in Nash's Worcestershire, in his appendix to the account 
of the Forests, says — "Which power of judgment dxtendeth from Charaey's Pool 
upon the south part unto Gowelyate upon the north part, and in breadth from 
Bodeway unto the height of Malvern-hill." 

+ From a Memorandum "On the antient liberties, royalty, and customs 
belonging to the lordship and franchise of Handley \ and unto the Chase of 
Malvern" in Nash's Hist. Worcester, printed from a document in possession of the 
Lechmexe family, and preserved among their muniments. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE. OF MCALYEBSt \\ 

exceeded not the Talue of forty shillings. To this court 
besides the homage and customary tenants thereof, were "free 
suitors," the Abbot of Westminster, the Abbot of Pershore^ 
the Prior of Much Malverne, the Prior of Little Malverne, 
the Lord Clifford for the Lordship of Stoke-upon-Severn, the 
Lord of Madresfeyld, the Lord of Bromsberrow, and the 
Lord of Byrtes-Morton.* Within the Lordship of Hanley, 
no sheriff, or eschaetor, or any foreign officer had any power 
whatever, but the bailiff of Hanley was to execute and serve 
all precepts, and to return the same at his jeopardy; and as for 
the peace, no warrant from justices was to be obeyed or executed 
there by any foreign officer, for as much as the constables of 
the said Lordship of Hanley were to sue and arrest the parties 
named in the said warrant ; and the said parties to commit 
to ward ; the constable of the Castle of Hanley had also power 
of sitting in judgment on felony and murder, and of executing 
the office of a coroner within the franchise of Hanley ; and 
the person accused was to be brought before the steward at 
Hanley and there interdicted, and, if found guilty, he was to 
be executed at a certain place called Bydde Green. 

Attached to the Chace were also certain Verdurers, Viewers, 
and Riders, which by their tenure and holding of land had 
power to ride and perambulate the ground, soil, and townships 
of every lord, from Charmey's Pool upon the south unto 
Powyke Bridge and Braunceford Bridge, to oversee the highways 
and watercourses, and to take care that the wood hedges 
adjoining to the Chace be lawfully made for the preservation 
of the deer. The Viewers and Riders were also to look to 
" the hombling of the dogs," and to have the oversight and 
correction thereof twice every seven years, and such manner 
of dogs as were found unlawful, that is to say, as could not 
be drawn through a certain sterop of eighteen inches and a 

*. These personages were all owners of lands within the boundaries of the Chace, 
hat held them subject to the Forest laws. 



12 THB FOBBST AND CHACE OF MALVEEOr. 

barleycorn in length and breadth compass, the farther joints 
of the two middle claws were to be cut clean away, and the 
master and owner of the dogs were to be amerced 3s. Id.* 

The chief Forester, who was generally a gentleman of 
position, had various fees assigned to him, as "crops of all 
the oaks," any excess of " the mast" in autumn beyond what 
was required for the commoners' pigs, the " windfall wood," 
the " 3d penny of attachments made in the Ghace," and the 
"3d penny of all felons goods and forfeitures within the 
Chace." Every commoner might fall "what wood pleaseth 
him upon attachment," — the attachment not to exceed the 
value of the wood, and " the Forester may lawfully follow the 
commoner with his wain unto his own house and attach him 
there ; if he may come to put his bow betwixt the foremost 
oxen and the gate-post of his house." The commoners and 
inhabitants in and about the Chace were to give notice to the 
foresters of any deer coming upon their premises, but they 
were on no account to kill, molest, or disturb them, under 
penalty of answering for the same at the Court of Hanley, with 
" homble pie " in prospect. The commoners, however, were 
entitled to put their pigs into the Chace in autumn to feed upon 
the acorns from the oaks, and if it appeared that there was 
more mast than the commoners' hogs would consume, the 
public crier was to announce the fact in the neighbouring 
towns, and the surplus mast was to be sold for the benefit 
of the lord, a portion going, of course, to the chief Forester. 

All these particulars, laws, usages, and customs passed 

* This "homblingof the dogs," no very pleasant process to them, was most 
probably the origin of that "humble pie," which like the Persian dirt those persons 
are said to eat who have rashly or foolishly got into an unpleasant predicament, 
and back out ignominiously. It has been generally said that hombie-pie was a dish 
made from the entrails of deer, and only served to those who sat at the lower 
end of the great table in the hall in " the good old times." < Yet even a pie of this 
description might be well partaken of by a man " hungry as a hunter" with no bad 
relish ; but the cutting clean away of the joints of those dogs* claws "found 
unlawful" was rather sharp practice, and more likely to lead to the proverbial 
expression that got into common use than the actual pie, which if not placed on 
the head table, was probably not bad in itself. The expression implies a forced 
fr^Hmtkw, which it certainly was to the poor dog. 



Ml FOREST A2TD CHAd Of HALTER* IS 

away when the Ghaoe was disafforested in 1632, and there 
only remains what was reserved by a decree of Chancery, and 
the order in Council explaining it, made at Whitehall, 5th 
September, 1632, by which after confirming the grant by the 
King of his third part of the Chace to Sir Nicholas Vermuyden, 
it is declared that the other two parts shall be left open and 
free for the freeholders and tenants and commoners to take 
their common of pasture and common of estovers therein ; * 
with the restriction that no enclosure shall be made, or woods 
and trees felled within the two-third parts subject to right of 
common.^ 

These reserved rights still remain where not altered by 
modern enclosure-acts, and the rights of the commoners still 
appertain to all the waste within the extensive parish of Great 
Malvern. So that in the sale or grant of any waste land for 
public or private purposes, the commoners may demand com- 
pensation ; and in a recent railway case when the Hereford 
Hallway was made they obtained it, the money valuation of 
their abstracted rights being now deposited at exchequer 
interest in the Worcester Old Bank. 

The deer of the Chace were probably all destroyed at its 
disafforestation, for nothing further is anywhere mentioned 
about them, and none appear to have been preserved in the 
paddocks of country gentlemen. If any stray ones remained, 
doubtless in the lawless time of "the great rebellion" they 
were finished up without remorse. Neither, as far as I know, 
has any account been left, in story or ballad, of the exploits 
of the Foresters, Verdurers, and Free Suitors, in their forays 

* After the disafforestation of the Chace various disputes arose as to rights of 
common upon it, and it was at last finally decided that, "The parishes reputed to 
be within the liberties and precincts of Malvern Chace were— the parish of Hanley 
•Castle, a parcel of Upton-upon-Severn, the parish of Welland, part of Longdon, 
Castle Morton, Birt alias Birch Morton, the Berrow, Bromsberrow, Malvern Parva, 
Malvern Mama, part of Leigh called Hawswell, Mathon, all in Worcestershire 
except Bromsberrow in Gloucestershire, and Colwall in the county of Hereford." 

+ See the Act of Parliament recited at length in Nash's VfotceaL—Appcndix ts 
:Oeibretf«. 



14 ms rofijtst Am> chacb of *alvw». 

and huntings after the deer, or the record left of any "Merrie 
men" who might have furtively sought after a fat buck; or 
any caitiff prowler who by "the verdict of twelve men" 
found his head placed under the Foresters axe, "in the said 
chace" at Sweet Oaks, "where they always sat in judgment on 
such persons.* 9 It can scarcely be doubted, however, that deer- 
stealing was an old custom, as approved within the Chace of 
Malvern by the Robin Hoods of Worcestershire, as in "Merry 
Sherwood," and other Royal Forests. It is in fact recorded that 
Hugh le Despencer, Chief Justice of Feckenham Forest, held 
a Court at the Commandery in Worcester, in May, 1300, "to 
impose fines on the destroyers of the King's game." It is 
possible, indeed, that the sharp axe of the Forester frightened 
marauders from the Chace at Malvern. At one time the deer 
taust have been numerous, as they are thus mentioned in an 
old devotional song, supposed to have been composed by a 
former Vicar of Malvern, about the year 1610 :— 

" A chace for Boyal deer 
Bound doth beset thee ; 
Too many do I fear 
For aught they get thee ; 
Yet, tho* they eat away 
Thy corn, thy grass, thy hay ; 
Do not forget, I say, 

To praise the Lord. 

" The noble chace doth give 
Thy beasts their feeding, 
Where they in summer live 
With little heeding ; 
Thy sheep and swine there go, 
So doth thy horse also, 
Till winter brings in snow, 

Then praise the Lord." 

The homage-tenants and commoners living on the borders 

of the Chace were not privileged to take or kill any of the 

deer there abiding, even if they trespassed upon their home- 

steads ; but then they had the run of the open parts of the 

Chace for their live stock in the "summer season, and other 

Tights of " estover," loppings of wood, &c. I should hardly 

<dare assert that a joint of venison did not occasionally get 

into some of the homage-tenants houses, for deer stealing* at 



THS FOREST A$D CHACE OF MALVHBM. j$ 

Shakespeare's history shows, was then considered rather a 
jolly, if illicit pastime; and the bow did not give such an 
alarm in its discbarge as the gun. There were serious riots 
by the country people (countenanced too by several landed 
proprietors) when the Chace was first disafforested and 
partially enclosed, and this seems to imply a disorderly 
population resident thereabout, not particularly moral in their 
habits, and who disliked the impending changes which would 
interfere with their unlicensed pilferings, and restrain their 
pursuits. Even late in the present century, the Commissioners 
of Woods and Forests gave orders for the destruction of all 
the deer in the Forest of Dean, from the temptation they 
presented to the labouring population to kill them whenever 
they could, and the immorality and crime that prevailed while 
they were preserved in the woods and coverts. 
• Nothing is stated with certainty as to the ownership of the 
Forest or Wilderness of Malvern before the reign of Edward I., 
who granted it as Royal property to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of 
Gloucester, and it was henceforth called a Chace. The second 
Gilbert de Clare married Maude, daughter of John de Burgh, 
when the Chaces of Malvern and Cors, with the Castle and 
Manor of Hanley, were assigned her as a dower; but the 
Earl being killed in the Scottish war, and having no children 
by Maude, these possessions went after his death to his sisters, 
as his heirs, and the eldest, who married Hugh le Despencer the 
younger, brought them with other possessions into the 
Despencer family, where they remained till in the third 
generation, then passing by marriage to Richard Beauchamp, 
JEarl of Warwick, a renowned general in the reign of Henry V. # 
who was killed in the French wars. His son, Henry Beauchamp, 
created Duke of Warwick by Henry VI., died aged only 22, 
«t Hanley Castle, and was buried in Tewkesbury Abbey. His 
estates and Malvern Chace among them, as he died without 
issue, passed to his only sister and heiress, Ann, married to 
4he celebrated Richari Neville, Earl of Warwiok and^Sdli^w^ 



16 THE FOREST AND CHACE Of MALVEMf: 

the " king-maker/ who leaving two daughters, his 
were, as heiresses, divided between them. One was matched to 
the unfortunate Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI. 
and Queen Margaret, murdered after the fight at Tewkesbury. 
She was married afterwards to King Richard III., but had no 
issue. The other became the wife of George, Duke of Clarence, 
who left one son. This son and heir was beheaded in the Tower 
on pretence of conspiracy by order of Henry VII., who then 
seized upon all young Warwick's possessions, including the 
Castle and Manor of Hanley, the parks of Blackmore, Hanley, 
and Cliffey, all lying in the bosom of the Chace, together with 
the market town of Upton-upon-Severn ; and so these posses- 
sions thus unjustly obtained by Henry remained Crown lands 
till about the year 1630, when King Charles I., on certain 
conditions, granted one-third part of the Forest or Chace of 
Malvern to Sir Robert Heath, then Attorney-General, and Sir 
Cornelius Vermuyden. In the meantime many rights or 
claims o£ right had arisen by grant or long usages in the 
lapse of several centuries, and when the grantees began to 
enclose, the Chace the commoners and other persons interested 
disputed their right to do so, and several riots and disturbances 
took place in consequence. Nevertheless a decree was issued 
in 1632 for the " disafforestation of the Chace of Malvern, and 
for freeing the lands within the bounds, limits, and jurisdic- 
tions thereof, of and from the game of deer there and the 
forest laws." By this decree (to obviate all disputes) one-third 
part only was to be severed and divided by commissioners, but 
the other two parts "shall remain and continue unto and 
amongst the commoners, and be held by them according to 
their several rights and interests, discharged and freed from 
his Majesty's game of deer there, and of and from the forest 
laws, and the liberties and franchises of Forest and Chace, in 
such sort as by the said decree it doth and may appear."* 

* See the document as printed at full length in the Appendix to Dr. Naeh't 
t of Woiotiterihiio Foretf*, in aia Hirtoryof WoroortenhirOk folio* vol b 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 17 

But besides the tenants and commoners, several powerful 
landowners, with rights or claims upon the Chace, opposed the 
execution of this decree, and Sir Thomas Bussell, John 
Hornihold, Esquire, and others, presented a bill in Chancery 
praying its reversal ; while in the meantime, William Noye, 
Attorney-General, exhibited an information in the Court of 
Star Chamber against Sir Thomas Bussell, Knight, Sir William 
Bussell, Bart., and others, " for certain riots and other mis- 
demeanours supposed to have been done in opposition and 
hindrance of the execution of the said decree." 

To end the dispute an order in Council was made at White- 
hall, 5th September, 1632, to explain the former decree, and 
for "the settlement of the differences" that had disturbed the 
country. By this it is declared that the third part to be 
enclosed should not be the best selected, but " indifferently 
taken, bad and good," and that "the other two parts shall 
be left open and free for the freeholders and tenants and 
commons, to take their common of pasture and common of 
Estovers therein ;" with the restriction that no enclosure shall 
he made, or woods or trees felled within the two reserved 
third parts. This " order of explanation " was to be held as 
part of the said decree, and still remains in force (being after- 
wards confirmed by Act of Parliament 16th Charles II.) as to 
such waste lands in the parishes of the Chace that have not 
become subject to enclosure acts, or been alloted according to 
the claims made before the enclosure commissioners. But I 
believe only Castle-Morton, Great Malvern, Colwall, and 
Mathon are now left exempt from later acts and orders of 
enclosure, so it behoves the freeholders and commoners of 
Great Malvern especially to see that they are not despoiled 
of their rights, which are yearly lessening. 

It appears that John Hornihold, Esq., of Blackmore Park, 
had at that time, whether from ancient grant or otherwise is 
not stated, certain rights called " Bent Oats" and " Bent Hens," 



]9 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

payable to him by some of the inhabitants of Malvern and 
Mathon; and so the decree, it is declared shall not be 
construed or taken to extend to debar the said John 
Hornihold, his heirs or assigns, for "or concerning his or 
their Bent Hens, heretofore to him due, or payable by and 
from any of the inhabitants of Much Malvern and Mathon, 
in the said county of Worcester, and of Colwall in the county 
of Hereford, but that the same Bent Oats and Bent Hens 
shall, and may be and continue yearly due and payable to 
him, the said John Hornihold, his heirs and assigns, as in 
his or their former right, and as if the said decree or dis- 
afforestation, or discharging the said Forest or Chace had 
never been." This decree, made in the eighth year of the 
reign of Charles I., was afterwards ratified and confirmed by 
Act of Parliament 16th Charles II., most of the Bang's third 
part being then by "mean conveyances" passed into the hands 
of Sir Nicholas Strode, of the Inner Temple, Knight; and 
what was in Herefordshire being then in the hands of John 
Birch and William Thackwell, gentlemen. The right of com- 
mon here reserved ^as maintained by several trials of law, as 
appertaining to thirteen parishes within or bordering upon 
the ancient Chace; but encroachments and later enclosure 
acts, as well as the application of the late general enclosure 
act, has left the decree almost inoperative, except as to the 
waste within the parish of Great Malvern.* 

The Author of "Reflections relating to Malvern Hills," 
published in 1814,t gives the following imaginative picture of 

* It is somewhat curious that a dispute has lately arisen as to the ownership of 
the summit of the Worcestershire Beacon, which might be presumed as within the 
parish of Great Malvern, and certainly within the bounds of the Chace, and subject 
to the decree by which and the subsequent Act of Parliament it was disafforested. 
Not long since it was proposed by Mr. Bazalgette and other gentlemen interested as 
visitors m the attractions of Malvern, to erect a Prospect-table on the summit of the 
hill, with a telescope and appendages for marking every object in the distant land- 
scape, but rival claims to the ground prevented the project being carried out. Mr. 
Barneby claimed for Lady Emily Foley, as Lady of the Manor of Malvern ; and on 
behalf of Mr. Hornihold, it was alleged that it had been purchased as included in 
the King's third part. If not, however, the ground would be subject to the rights 
of the commoners ; but the matter remains at present undecided. 

t The Bev. E. M. Budd, late of Kempsey. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE 0* MALVERN. \Q 

Malvern life in the purlieus of the Chace at the beginning of 
the thirteenth century: — "I sometimes go back, in imagination, 
to the state of things at Malvern many centuries ago. I see 
beneath these Hills, instead of this diversified cheerful scene 
of cultivation, a vast straggling Forest, interspersed with 
heathy pastures with much fewer dwellings visible, chiefly huts 
and cottages, and here and there a great man's castle bosomed 
in trees; the wide forest scene having a rich and noble but more 
lonely aspect. Archers at a distance appear and disappear 
among the trees traversing the Chace in quest of deer. Solitude, 
nevertheless, strongly characterises the scene. I have before 
me the grey Gothic Abbey, and its various conventual build- 
ings. Its bell sounds among the rocks. Cowled monks walk 
among the thick alder clumps by the stream below. Some are 
setting out on a spiritual visit to the peasants or to the house* 
hold of a neighbouring Baron or Knight, others of the lay 
brethren return with water from St. Ann's or the Holy Well, 
two miles distant. Some are here upon the Hills — perhaps 
returning from a visit to the Hermitage. One sits reading 
among jutted rocks and tangled bushes ; and two or three am 
above, near the summit, looking down on the expanse below." 
This is a pretty picture enough, but when it is considered 
that in monasteries all things were done by rule, and sub- 
jection to strict discipline constantly enforced, we can scarcely 
believe that the monks had that contemplative liberty here 
supposed, and in fact the numerous services in the monastery 
would not allow of it. There was a regulation at Little 
Malvern Priory, that the monks there should go out only two 
together, which implies a suspicion beyond spiritual thought 
or poetical contemplation. 

If we now turn to regard the size of Malvern Chace as at 
present enclosed and cultivated, we shall find but few extensive 
commons 6r wastes left within it, and fewer still vestiges of 
real forest ground. In the present state of the country, when 



20 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

enclosure has done almost all it can, with barren ground con* 
verted into green meadows and cultivated fields that now meet 
the view almost everywhere between the Hills and the Severn, 
it is scarcely possible to realise the Forest scenes of the British 
and Saxon times. Little, if any of the original " Forest" as 
understood by the term, now remains, for the few woods that 
have been suffered to exist, merely allowed to form bushy 
underwood that is felled every seven years, or permitted to raise 
thin and lank hop-poles, give but a very inadequate idea of the 
sylvan aspect of olden times. Every year, too, diminishes 
these limited woodlands, which are lessened by grubbing up 
and made arable, and it would be difficult at present to find 
many old forest veterans that existed when the Glares and 
Despencers, or later still, the Beauchamps and Nevilles, held 
their court at Hanley Castle.* 

But although individual trees of great size and age are of 
rare occurrence, yet some woodlands that have been such from 
the earliest times yet remain, and this is especially the case 
where yews and hollies grow, darkening the ground with 
sylvan gloom at all times. In the parish of Powick, about 
the Berrow, as well as in various parts of Colwall and Mathon, 
there are antient woods sufficiently embowered in foliage to 
reveal the picture Lucan has drawn in Druidical times — 

" Where in deep horror had for ages stood 
A dark un violated sacred wood ; " 

for notwithstanding the various enclosures of late years that 
have reduced the once extensive Chace of Malvern to a com- 
paratively narrow compass except in name, secluded spots still 

* Of this castle, once so important a feature in the Chace, scarcely a vestige 
remains, except three sides of the wide moat that encompassed it, the area now 
forming a garden attached to the modem though handsome farm-house on its north 
side, tenanted by Mr. Gee, under J. Vincent Hornihold, Esq., the representative of 
an old family long resident at Blackmoor Park, and connected with the old forest, its 
laws and customs. The last feudal resident at Hanley Castle was Henry, Duke of 
Warwick, who died there in the reign of Henry VI., and after the property was 
confiscated to the Crown, keepers of the castle suffered it to become dilapidated, till 
unoccupied it was destroyed piecemeal. Leland speaks of it as "defaced" in his 
day (temp. Hen. VIII.), and not even a ruined tower is now left to sketch or 
moralise upon. 



THE FOREST AND OHACB OF MALVERN. 21 

exist environed with trees and bushes, almost as lonely, 
solitary, and deserted, as when through uninhabited wastes the 
chief Forester galloped about with his axe the dread of prowling 
caitiffs, or yeoman prickers moved merrily along to rouse the 
stag from his lair in the ferny hollow. About the eastern 
base of the Herefordshire Beacon, and on either side of the 
Bagged Stone and Casend Hills more to the south, are dingles 
leafy as "Merry Sherwood" ever beheld; the dense woods 
upon the Hollybush Hill are as solemn as old hollies and 
sombre evergreen yew-trees can make them, while Castle 
Morton common still shows a wide, green expanse, with here 
and there a pool, where the lovers of hunting may follow 
harriers and fox-hounds, if the chase of nobler animals than 
hares and foxes can now be no longer taken. 

A short time since, in an excursion to the Hollybush Hill, 
T passed through a large pasture beyond the Brick Barns 
Farmhouse, the name showing a posterior date to the old 
forest time when all barns hereabout were constructed of 
wood. In this pasture, which had several oak trees scattered 
over it, was a beautiful sequestered pond, embowered in wide 
branching oaks and ash trees, and which had probably 
remained undisturbed in its obscurity for centuries. Here the 
forest deer had slaked their thirst before the Norman Conquest, 
and thus it had remained after the deer had been destroyed 
and the forest enclosed. The country of olden times yet 
remains pictured around the borders of these retired and 
untouched pools, which are like artistic sketches made by a 
master hand. The shallow end of the pond, where the cattle 
made use of it, was covered with duck-weed ; but the farther 
part under a steep embowered bank was black as Erebus, and 
seemed dedicated to pitchy night. It lay still and dark, for 
scarcely though the sunbeams contrived to penetrate through 
the thick foliage upon the water, could the reflection of the 
branches be at all seen. At this time dead leaves strewed the 



32 ™E FOBEST AND CHAOS OF MALVERN. 

surface of the ebon water, and more were continually added 
with every gust of wind. The only sign of life upon this 
silent and secluded pool was, where a gleam of wandering 
light called up a circling band of the little burnished water- 
flea {Gyrinus natatorj, which, for the few minutes that the 
sunbeam glanced, moved merrily about 

Bordering upon Castle Morton common is another solemn 
thicket-surrounded pool no doubt of long antiquity, for it 
bears the name of Danemoor, and is not far from the exten- 
sive castrametation surrounding Midsummer and part of the 
Hollybush Hills. On one occasion, when I was beside it, a 
brood of wild-ducks and their mother came out from among 
the rushes on its borders, making a very pretty appearance. 

In the autumnal and winter seasons Longdon Marsh covered 
with water used to present the appearance of an extensive 
lake, and bordered by a dense growth of sea-rushes, tall carices, 
and an army of plumose reeds, had a wild and solitary aspect, 
a few clumps of silvery-leaved poplars fPopvlus canescensj 
giving a peculiar character to the aqueous scene. But the 
drainage of the marsh, recently taken in hand, will, if success- 
ful, change the aspect of things entirely. 

In the parish of Colwall, near the old hunting seat of the 
Bishops of Hereford, is a good-sized fish-pool, though now 
almost half choked-up and closely environed with a dense 
growth of tall carices, which on the last occasion I saw it was 
crowded with a flock of sable coots (Fvlxca atraj These 
birds inhabit few pools in the Malvern district at present. 

Near the last-mentioned pool, in the middle of a pasture, 
stand the Colwall Oaks, the two oldest oak trees any 
where about the Malvern hills, and manifesting in their 
size of bole and bare stags arms at the tops rising high in 
air undoubted evidences of very high antiquity. The largest 
has been much shattered and lost some of its finest branches, 
so that at a distance it has a lank and attenuated look, 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 28 

bat when closely examined the size of the old bole now 
getting hollow within appears very great. The extreme base 
of the trunk bulges out considerably, and is rather more 
than 60ft. in circumference; but this diminishes so quickly 
that a yard from the ground the tree is only about 27ft 
round. It is worthy of notice that in the deep rifts of the 
bark of this ancient oak a Lichen grows that I have nowhere 
else met with near Malvern, and that is the gray speckled 
Opegrapha (0. lynceaj, which is well marked by the 
pruinous or bloomy apotheciae, which seem pressed into the 
white mortary crust on whjch they are placed. The com- 
panion oak to the great one, and almost as old, is 45ft. 
round its swollen base. These old veterans stand on ground 
that centuries ago formed part of a park belonging to the 
Bishops of Hereford, who had a country seat at Oolwall, 
remains of which yet exist in a three-gabled timbered 
farmhouse near the church. Beside some of the windows 
of this old mansion are placed small pointed holes covered 
with a moveable board, from whence it is commonly said 
by the Colwall people that the deer were shot at I am 
not inclined to endorse this supposition, believing rather that 
these curious holes were for talking to persons without after 
nightfall, when it might not be safe to open the door. 
Considering the centuries that the oak continues to grow, 
and that the trees are in a decaying state, it may be confi- 
dently affirmed that they are 800 years old at least, and 
more probably 900 — so that Virgil well said of so enduring 
a tree — 

"For length of ages lasts his happy reign, 
And lives of mortal men contend in vain." 

Yet 900 years will not carry us back into Druidical times, 

and probably no tree now exists in the precincts of Malvern 

Chace that stood in its leafy amplitude at the invasion of 

Julius Caesar. 

Still some dark and dense woods remain forest ground now 



24 TOB FOBEST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

as in ages past, and I may mention the Berrow Wood, the 
extensive coverts that stretch about the western base of the 
Herefordshire Beacon, and the very thick wood on the eastern 
side of the Hollybush Hill, rendered still more gloomy by 
scattered though stunted yew-trees that shadow the ground 
solemnly even at mid-day. Forest scenery may be well 
exemplified within the Hollybush Wood, which, belonging 
to Earl Somers and preserved as a covert for game, is 
seldom or ever felled or disturbed. Here old trunks, either 
upturned by the furious winter gale or falling down by 
their decrepitude, lie rotting on the ground, and often get 
covered with a crop of velvety ear-like Fungi, or round hard 
balls black as charcoal, known to botanists as Spharia. 
On the large decaying Polypori and other Fungi smaller 
coloured species grow, while Mosses and Jungermanni® 
clothe the damp boughs of the shadowed trees with a dense 
verdant covering. 

The Holly-bush Hill must have been noted for the ever- 
green hollies that cover its declivities from the time that 
the invading Saxons first approached its verdant crest, and 
thus it has continued, wild, beautiful, and almost untouched 
down to the present day. The holly is a very slow-growing 
tree, and some of those tall ones within the depths of the 
wood are of considerable bulk — several even decayed and 
partially hollow — and must be of very considerable age, extend- 
ing to hundreds of years. Some of the older trees have on 
their smooth bark those curious "lirellee," as botanists call 
them, which very closely resemble Persian or Arabic characters, 
and might almost seem to be translatable. The species 
called Qraphis elegans is most conspicuous, and when rather 
enthusiastic about Lichens some years ago, the skins of the 
hollies here produced me some very capital inscriptions, 
though the scalps of the trees suffered temporarily. The 
hollies also produce the rare moss called Daltonia heteromalla. 



THE F0EE8T AND CHACE OF MALVEBN. 25 

Several of the larger holly trees have three or four trunks in 
close juxtaposition, offering a pleasant shade in summer time. 

The holly must have been ever a great adornment to the 
thickets of Malvern Chace, and still is within many of the 
woods and copses near the hills, as in Brockhill Wood and about 
Cowleigh Park. The sides of that curious geological feature 
called " the Bidgway," at the western base of the Hereford- 
shire Beacon, and leading towards Eastnor Castle, are still 
densely wooded, and though modern adornment has been 
introduced upon the scene, one natural feature remains in 
the pretty grey-green Juniper fJunij>eru8 communis J, which 
being preserved here grows finer and taller than in any other 
part of the Malvern country. I have observed the Juniper 
on the borders of woods about the Croft, Mathon, and at Bush 
Hill, Powick, and it must formerly have been more dispersed 
about the Chace, but at present it is almost eradicated. It 
is on the side of the Bidgway, not for from the second 
lodge, that an oak appears with a considerable quantity of 
Mistletoe upon it, near the top of the tree. • This oak is 
however a slender one, and not above 250 years old. 

Among other localities that still retain traces of the green 
forest of olden days, High Grove and the Old Storrage 
stretching northward may be mentioned, as well as Bough 
Hill Wood, and the bushy and diversified dingles of Cow- 
leigh Park, till lately horrent with masses of entangled 
brambles, and marshy spots shadowed over with clumps of 
alders. Even Abingdon the antiquary marked Cowleigh as 
" a place where the springs descending from above with a 
soft murmur delight the senses. A seat for the Muses, but 
better for devotion; for lifted aloft, yf ye look one way ye 
see nothinge but the hills and heavens, if the other below ye, 
a most large prospect of this perishing world which passeth 
in a moment." Dripshill, the Berrow Hill, and Sarnhill, the 
latter towards the southern end of the Chace, are also 
wooded eminences, with great quantities of the Iris fatidis- 



26 THE FOREST AND CHACB OF MALVERK 

sima about them ; and the grounds about Pull Court, the 
mansion of William Dowdeswell, Esq., emparked from a very 
early period, present a charming picture of sylvan scenery. 
The idea of a forest, however, brings before the mind 
images of great clumps of tall trees standing in imposing 
grandeur, as well as majestic old forest veterans detached 
and standing separate here and there — 

"Trees that have outlivM the eagle ;" 
some venerable in decay with bare arms and riven trunks, 
patriarchs of the sylvan scene, rooted here and there like 
chieftains surrounded by their subject retainers. Of these it 
must be confessed that not any very great number can be 
adduced, but I will now proceed to enumerate some of the 
most curious relics of forest times that yet remain scattered in 
and about the confines of the Ghace. Along the sides of 
brooks and antient water-courses old trees and weather-beaten 
boles long remain to an uninterrupted old age, and so 
neglected pools may be found embowered with aged veteran 
patrician trees that for the sake of marking the spot and 
preserving the water have been suffered to remain till in their 
decrepitude, for though well deserving the notice of the lover of 
woodland scenery, they have become worthless as timber. In 
such spots the old features of the forest may yet be realised, 
and here the aquatic vegetation peculiar to such localities 
gives them a characteristic appearance, and may occasionally 
shelter wild-fowl. Masses of tall Carices or the taller Reed- 
mace {Typha latifoUaJ with its black heads of catkins here 
rise up in dense thickets, and form with the great yellow- 
flowered Iris a covert that Willows stoop over and Alders and 
scraggy black Poplars safely guard. Several scattered ponds, 
especially towards the Severn, are bordered with such con- 
spicuous plants as the great long-leaved Water-dock, the 
blue-flowered Skull-cap ( Scutellaria gakricvlataj, the great 
Water-plantain, or the tall-branched bur-reed fSparganium 
ramoswinj Other ponds are green with a close investiture of 



THE FOREST AND GHACE OF MALVERN. 27 

duck -weed, or coated oyer with the small heart-shaped leaves 
of the Frog-bit water-lily, whose delicate white flowers rise to 
view most visibly in the evening twilight Then, again, there 
are half-dried-np marshy spots, where some overturned and 
hollow willow slowly yields to time, which are occupied 
with a crowded growth of the Water-dropwort fCEnanthe 
PheltandriumJ, or the blue-eyed flowers of the Forget-me-not 
Grand scenes of forest scenery may be swept away with the 
trees that formed them, and large tracts of land may be 
reclaimed and devoted to arable purposes ; but the little pools, 
brooks, and water-courses, with the coppices that border them, 
must remain to adorn the country with poetical quotations 
from lost books, even by the dusty road-side. Yet the 
desecration of the landscape proceeds, and one copse after 
another disappears, as I noted not long since at Bush Hill, 
near Powick, where a piece of woodland, long left intact, and 
once beautiful with hoary juniper bushes, as I remember, and 
large flowering trees of the Service (Pyrus torminalisj, had 
been cut down and ruthlessly ruined. 

As forming a good picture of sylvan scenery, " The Grove" 
at Little Malvern may be referred to, on the eastern edge of 
which is a fine spreading oak, known as " The Benedictine 
Oak," which, had it the faculty of Tennyson's " talking oak," 
could doubtless bear witness to the colloquies of monks from 
the adjacent priory. Though this particular oak can only 
make pretension to have had Benedictine monks under its 
branches when Little Malvern Priory was intact, yet in those 
days there were older patrician trees existing going much 
farther back into " the times before them," and of the Priory 
itself it might then have been justly said in the words of 

Byron — 

"It stood embosom'd in a lonely valley, 
Crown'd by high woodlands, where the Druid oak 
Stood like Caractacus in act to rally 
His host with broad arms 'gainst the thunder-stroke, 
And from beneath his boughs were seen to sally 
The dappled foresters." 



28 TOE FOREST AND CHACB OF MALVERN. 

Within the grove, extending as it does to the very base of the 
Herefordshire Beacon, by degrees the external world is entirely 
shut out, and all is solitude and seclusion. Tall oaks and 
ashes rise high in air upon the slanting banks of the glen, but 
beneath their branches only a mazy thicket of brambles and 
close-growing eagle-brakes are discernible, or the rough 
surface of the Beacon closing the vista. A narrow streamlet 
glides with a faint murmur though unseen from the plants 
that environ it at the bottom of the slope, and here is 
loneliness that might again excite to eremetical abstinence or 
the solemnity of religious thought. 

Though the Chace even now possesses a few "salvage 
woods of antient growth," yet old trees of any size are mostly 
scattered about at wide intervals, and many have been "levelled," 
as Cottle says in his poem on Malvern, long ago. Here and 
there antient battered oaks, shorn of their grand spreading 
arms, and hacked mercilessly from time to time, tell a tale of 
antiquity, for doubtless they have stood the brunt of many 
hundred winter storms, and with respect to some their age can 
only be guessed at, though probably reaching back at least into 
Flantagenet times, when Hanley Castle was entire, and a 
Despencer or a Beauchamp rode forth with his verderers to 
rouse the deer from their lair. Such oaks may be occasionally 
noticed in old hedgerows, like the one represented (see the cut 
opposite J, which is 17ft. in circumference at 3ft. from the 
ground. 

This tree stands in a field near the Severn, and puts out hori- 
zontal arms in a very curious manner. It is a characteristic 
specimen of what is called a "bur-oak," of which many may 
be seen, having been pollarded, and thus left to shoot forth 
new arms, and make a more dwarfish appearance than it would 
otherwise have done. When thus left in the condition of 
"bur-oaks," the decaying branches sometimes assume curious 
and even demoniacal shapes. This is the case with an old 




Old Pollard Oak, in a Meadow near the Severn, 
Southern part of Malvern Chace. 



To face page 28. 






I 




The "Devil's Oak," near Sherard's Green, 
Malvern. 



o face page 29. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 29 

and partly hollow oak that stands in a hedge by the side of the 
road leading to Sherrard's Green, below Great Malvern, and 
bears the name of "The Devil's Oak," which the outline of 
several of its dying branches might well indicate for an 
appropriate name. It is said, however, that the appellation 
was really given to it from some sweeps having been seen to 
emerge in the mist of an autumnal morning from its cavity 
where they had been sheltering, and as they disappeared in 
the fog, looked very much like young devils ! The name at 
all events is likely to stick to the deformed tree. Another 
curious old hollow oak, all but dead, stands with a shed placed 
against its serried bole by the road side near the boundary of the 
parishes of Pendock and the Berrow, and is probably between 
seven and eight hundred years old. 

Only one oak of any conspicuous size or spread of bough 
now remains standing near Great Malvern, and that is in the 
middle of the pasture next to Cowleigh Farm-house, and so 
may be called the Cowleigh Oak. This indeed does not 
as yet show the stags horns — "reliques of its trophies old,"— 
that denote extreme antiquity ; but it is a tree of considerable 
size and breadth of head, and its trunk is about 24ft. in 
circumference at a yard from the base. It may be considered 
as more than six hundred years old. "Cowley's Oke" is 
referred to in a MS. Survey of Malvern Chace, A.D. 1633. 

Some of the grand spreading oaks that adorn the beautiful 
grounds of Pull Court, Bushley,* the residence of William 
Dowdeswell, Esq., may give a good idea of the aspect of 
Malvern Forest ere its best trees were felled, and some of these 
majestic veterans may claim an antiquity extending as far 
back as four or five centuries. A curious lone tall but hollow 
oak stands in a field by the side of the road between the Oxeye 

* Though Bushley by some special grant appears to have been not included in the 
Chace of Malvern, yet Dr. Nash states that there was a park here which belonged 
to the Earls of Warwick ; and there was also a manor in the parish attached to the 
Abbey of Tewkesbury. 



30 THE FOREST AND CHAGE OF MALVERN. 

turnpike-gate and the Long Green, on the road from Tewkesbury 
to Pendock, which mast have been a rural land-mark for many 
generations. It is swollen about the base, with a considerable 
hollow within, able to shelter many wayfarers, and there is, I 
have heard, some legend or story in connection with it. 

The "White-leaved Oak" valley between the Ragged-stone 
and Keysend-hills, keeps in its name the memory of an oak 
that existed there within memory, whose leaves being variegated 
with white blotches, caused it to be considered a curiosity and 
prodigy. Such oaks with variegated leaves are very uncom- 
mon, but occur occasionally, and one with its leaves slightly 
mottled with white now stands upon the sienitic boss in Gow- 
leigh Park. Spme superstition is generally attached to them.* 

Scattered over the country once included in Malvern Chace, 
many dwarf " bur-oaks" of considerable age may yet be found 
in old hedgerows and by the side of lonely pools and streams, 
where they are with difficulty dislodged, and after lopping push 
forth a crowd of young branches on their distorted heads. A 
remarkable dwarf tree of this description exists on the banks 
of the Teme in the parish of Leigh, about a mile west of 
Bransford Bridge. This has a bole much swollen above the 
base, and is 20ft. in girth at a yard from the ground. It is 
represented in the accompanying cut, well recalling Mason's 
description in S€ Caractacus" — 

" Behold yon oak, 

How stem he frowns, and with his broad brown arms 
Chills the pale plain beneath him." 

The Yew (Taxw baccataj may be considered as a tree 
equal if not superior in endurance to the oak, and in the woods 
that still remain within the boundaries of the Chace, this long- 
enduring tree is plentiful and certainly indigenous, especially 

* Heath, in his account of the Scilly Islands on the coast of Cornwall, says— 
"In Lanhadron Park there grows an oak that bears leaves speckled with white; 
as another called Painter's Oak grows in the Hundred of East. Some are of 
opinion that divers antient families of England are pre-admonished by oaks bearing 
strange leaves." DacripL of Scilly Ida and Cornwall, 8vo, p. 840. 




Gbeat Bur Oak, standing in a Field on the Banks 
or the Teme, in the Parish op Leigh. 



To face page 30. 



w 




Old Hollow Yew Tree in Ckadley Church-yard 



To face page 81. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 31 

upon the hilly ground of the Silurian strata. In one of these 
woods I have counted between twenty and thirty yews, and in 
the winter season they are very conspicuous. Most of the 
churchyards in the Malvern district possess a yew, but except 
one in Stanton churchyard, and two in Cradley churchyard, 
none are of very remarkable size or great age. The largest of 
the Cradley yews is rather more than 26ft. in circumference at 
8ft from the base. The most picturesque of these is hollow, 
with a wide spread of branohes, and is depicted in the opposite 
wood-cut.* In Stanford Bishop churchyard just within Here- 
fordshire, is a still larger female yew, that in 1852 measured 
27ft. in circumference at 4ft. above its base, and higher up 
where the trunk bulges out, 81ft There is a yew of great 
antiquity in Northampton churchyard, all the upper part of which 
was blown down by a hurricane in 1 889, though the base of the 
bole (then 26ft. in girth) yet remains, with a living branch 
extending from it I obtained a section of one of the branches, 
of the diameter of 9 in., within which were 227 rings of 
annual growth. If the growth of the bole was in proportion to 
that of the branch, this yew might be calculated as having existed 
more than twelve hundred years. This would take us back to 
A.D. 670, and is by no means at all improbable. A very antient 
and singular yew-tree now stands on the truncated summit of the 
oval artificial mount at Bromsberrow called Oonygree Hill, and 
which looks like a huge dendroidal skeleton, with the bald- 
ness of its branches, almost devoid of verdure from being in a 
great degree shut out of light and air by a modern plantation 

* In connection with the yew, and its subservience to the bowmen of England, 
" dreadful with the bended yew," which was in use for general practice more or less 
in every parish prior to the time of Henry VIII., as shown m Bishop Latimer's 
quaint sermons preached before King Edward VI., I may remark that an inhabitant 
of Cradley mentioned to me that many •• Archers" and "Bendbows" were stiU 
extant in and about Cradley and Malvern, their family name derived from the 
former use of the bow. The common use of the bow among all classes is referred to 
by Shak8peare in his Richard the 2nd, when Lord Scroop tells the deserted king— 
" The very beadsmen learn to bend their bows 
Of double fatal yew, against thy state." 
Latimer mentions that as a yeoman's son he was very early taught how to bend his 
bow. 



32 TOE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

that now surrounds the old tree, and robs it of the nutriment 
that its huge bole and numerous boughs demand. When 
measured in 1840 it was 25ft. in girth, and as one of 
the oldest trees about the Malvern Hills, it is to be hoped that 
it may be carefully preserved by Osman Eicardo, Esq., on 
whose property it stands. The mount is supposed to have been 
a place of judicial assembly in antient British times, and the 
yew may even then have existed. The annexed cut is taken 
from a sketch made on the spot some years since, but it remains 
in its seclusion in the same state. This yew must be certainly 
more than a thousand years old. A yew of considerable size 
and showing the graves of "the rude forefathers of the hamlet" 
from Norman if not Saxon times, throws a mournful gloom 
upon the south side of Bromsberrow churchyard, thus forming 

" A pillarM shade 

Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue, 

By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged 

Perennially ; beneath whose sable roof 

Of boughs, as if for festal purpose, decked 

With unrejoicing berries, ghostly shapes 

May meet at noontide : Fear, and trembling Hope, 

Silence, and Foresight — Death the skeleton, 

And Time the shadow, there to celebrate 

As in a natural temple, scattered o'er 

With altars undisturbed of massy stone, 

United worship." Wordsworth. 

The Wytch Elm (Ulmus montanaj, is an undoubted indi- 
genous tree partial to upland ground, where if unmolested its 
branches spread far out and depend very gracefully ; but in 
general it comes under the woodman's axe to stand as a debased 
pollard, and thus treated its head in time assumes enormous 
proportions on the top of a bole much less in bulk, and often 
makes a very grotesque appearance. Two of such monstrosities 
existing at Cradley, are depicted in the Woolhope Naturalists' 
Club Transactions for 1868, and others almost as strange-look- 
ing may be noticed by any observer in the course of his rambles 
about the margin of woods near the base of the Malvern chain. 
A Wytch elm of some size and great age, though dwarf, stands 
near the eastern base of the Eeysend Hill, near the carriage- 




Anoiknt Ykw Tree on Conygree-hill, Bromhbrrrow. 



*of*o< 



'«* SMfaSl 



* 



1* *}4 sd jT 







>»J J4 



^ 



I 




Hollow Wytch Elm (UTmus rrunttana), near Knightsfobd 
Bridge. 



To face page 33. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OP MALVERN. 33 

drive to Bromsberrow Court ; and another curious hollow tree 
of the same species occurs in the vicinity of Knightsford Bridge 
on the river Teme. A representation of this is given, and as 
will be seen the sylvan veteran makes a picturesque object. 
Superstition still retains some hold upon the Wytch Elm, if 
its branches are cut and bound in a peculiar manner, as a 
dread of " the evil eye " still lurks in rural recesses. 

Some difference of opinion has been expressed by botanists 
and historians of forest trees as to the claims of the Lime or 
Linden to nativity in Britain, but in the shape of TUia 
parvifolia it occurs in so many woods and coppices in the 
Malvern country eastward of the hills, that its claims as a 
native tree appear to be indisputable, though none of any 
great size can be noted in woods. But the lime is there mostly 
cut down as coppice-wood, and few trees of any great age are 
suffered to stand. I have observed the lime abundantly in 
woods at the Berrow, in a wood at the eastern base of the 
Herefordshire Beacon, in High Grove, Mathon, in a wood on 
the Little Storrage, at Bosebury Bock, &c. By the side of 
Leigh Brook it forms bushes to some extent, and in woods 
and coppices about Leigh the lime appears with the characters 
of TUia Europaa. In the parish of Bromsberrow is a fine 
specimen of T. parvifolia, standing where some roads meet 
near the Brownsend, and this is called "the Brownsend 
Lime/' but it has been planted, evidently. Some very fine 
trees of TUia Ewopaa now stand in a field about half-a- 
mile south of Bromsberrow Church, and by the side of the 
road leading from Ledbury towards Gloucester. Two of 
these, growing near each other, have become conjoined, both 
by the amalgamation of their arms and by a lateral junction at 
the root. The largest of these trees is 27ft. in circumference 
at 3ft. from the ground, and is 36ft. round the base; the 
other is lift. 3in. in girth at a yard from the ground, and 
19ft in circumference at the base. The whole mass if 



34 THE FOEEST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

measured as one tree (and the interval between the boles 

where the connecting root joins them is only 19in.), is 

full 48ft. in circumference.* The annexed wood-cut gives 

the appearance of this didymous tree, when divested of its 

foliage. When these trees were planted I have been unable to 

ascertain. The Brownsend Lime is 18ft. in girth, 3ft. from 

the ground. 

In a field on the Priory Farm, Little Malvern, are several 

large trees of Tilia grandifolia, but these do not belong 

exactly to forest times, having certainly been planted either 

by one of the Priors of Little Malvern, or some of his lay 

successors to the Priory lands. The flowers of this species 

are larger and sweeter in scent than the common kind, and the 

pallid bracts are more evident. The leaves are not larger than 

those of T. Ev/ropaa, but they are downy beneath, and the 

tree better deserves the trivial name of grandiflora from its 

larger and more odorous flowers, frilly realising the poetical 

idea that- — 

"A murmur of the bee 
Dwells ever in the honey' d lime above." 

Mrs. Hemans. 

The Maple (Acer carnpestrej is a very common tree on the 
borders of woods and coppices about the Ghace, as well as in 
old hedgerows, and though pollarded too frequently by the 
farmer, yet as it is but seldom entirely cut down, it maintains 
a long life, though often putting on a stunted or grotesque 
appearance. It is a slow-growing tree, and it is rare to find 
any of considerable bulk, though some trees standing singly 
that I have met with must be above five hundred years old. 
The only tree about Hanley that can be certainly referred to 
the time when the Beauchamps possessed Hanley Castle is a 
maple. But the largest veteran of this species that I have 
met with stands in a field at Powick not far from the Teme, 
and exhibits a very old decayed and hollow bole from which a 
younger one proceeds, itself of considerable size, and spreading 

* These measurements were made in 1839. 




Inosculated Limes (Tilia Europ&a), standino in a Field 
in the Parish of Bromsberrow. 



To face page 34. 







-kii 



\ M 






4 • 




y 



' 



• . "i . 1 . • /A 







Old Hollow Didymous Maple (Acer campestre), in a Field 

NEAR THE TKME AT PowiCK. 



face page 35. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 35 

much beyond its parent. The girth of the combined boles 
near the base exceeds 14ft., which is greater than has been 
before recorded of any English maple. This curious old 
tree is represented in the wood-cut annexed. Others may be 
remarked of greater spread of bough, but are not equal in 
antiquity to this tree, the oldest portion of which probably 
reaches to 700 years. 

Another slow-growing and long-enduring tree, still occur- 
ing sparsely in almost every wood in and around the Ohace, is 
the Service-tree fPyrus torminalisj, which, however, seldom 
attains any large size, and presents a beautiful aspect when in 
flower. It mostly gets cut down within woods, but at Bush 
Hill, Fowick, in Black Hawthorn Lane leading to Madresfield, 
and a few other neglected spots, some good-sized trees occur 
that show both flowers and the well-known brown fruit, which 
requires to be kept a considerable time before it is eaten. 
Within " My lord's wood," situated in the parish of Powiok, 
and not far from Bransford Court, so called from its being the 
wood of the manor devoted specially to the lord's use, and so 
existing as a wood from the very earliest period to which 
thought can revert, are some tall individuals of the Service, 
the tallest and oldest that I know of in Worcestershire. The 
age of these trees can only be guessed at while standing, but 
the Service-tree grows at so slow a rate, and these have been 
so long protected within the wood, that it would not be 
unreasonable to refer their date to as early as the reign of 
Edward the First. 

The Ash {Fraxinw excelsior), is a widely distributed tree, 
and by the side of brooks often puts on a scraggy appear- 
ance, decrepid with age and batteration by tempest, more 
especially if perforated and reduced to rottenness by the 
attacks of the monstrous caterpillar of the goat moth. But 
scarcely any tree has a more majestic appearance or extends 
its boughs wider than the ash when left to grow with 



36 THE FOREST AND CHACE OP MALVERN. 

sufficient space and undisputed sovereignty. A splendid 
tree that grew in the grounds at Hope End, near Ledbury, 
is mentioned by Barret in his account of the Malvern Hills, 
published in the early part of the present century, and 
when I measured it some years ago it was nearly 40ft. 
round the base close to the ground. Some enemy of the 
Dryads has caused this beautiful ash to be felled. One 
almost as large, though not so regular and widely-spreading, 
I have noticed in a field near Cork's Hill, Forthampton, on 
the estate of Joseph Yorke, Esq., and I trust that it still 
exists. Though Forthampton is out of the exact bounds of 
Malvern Chace, yet it may be said to be in the Malvern 
country, as the Hanley Castle people had right of common 
there in the forest times, and the dimensions of this large 
ash tree are worth recording. Close to the ground where 
the roots spread out it was nearly 36ft. round, and at 
3ft. from the base the bole was 22ft. 2in. in girth. 
The radius of the longest arm was 36ft., and its height 
was 91ft. I know of no other ash so large as this. In 
Eldersfield churchyard are some monstrous pollard ashes, 
one of which is above 30ft. round its swollen base, and 15ft. 
in girth at 3ft. from the ground. The ash is sometimes 
didymous or double, and I noticed one at Forthampton 
2ft. between the twin boles ; but they often grow nearer 
than this, and when by an inosculation an opening or 
needle-like eye is formed, making a hole through which a 
person may squeeze, there is a rustic superstition that if 
married women who have not hitherto rejoiced in a progeny, 
are anxious for a young olive-branch springing up in their 
households, their wishes will be gratified after pushing through 
this orifice in the rifted ash. I only record this as an " old 
saying," which, however, seems to have descended from 
Druidical times, and I knew a lady who at any rate if she 
did not benefit by the process, had her wishes gratified after 
making the experiment. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 37 

The Alder fAlms glutinosaj must of necessity be noticed, 
as its prevalence in the district is stated by all authors to have 
given rise to the name of Malvern, Mod or Mol being Celtic 
for a bare mountain, and wern the Celtic appellation for the 
alder tree.* Even now every stream that flows from the hills 
towards the Severn is bordered by alder bushes, and the 
coppices at the base of the hills, until the recent spread of 
villas and houses around Great Malvern, were crowded with 
alders. This tree, being too often lopped like the willow, 
becomes mostly dwarf and distorted, so that alders of any 
altitude or spread of bough are of rare occurrence, though as 
it is an enduring tree and will bear any hacking, and decays 
bat slowly, the old stumps that remain by brook sides on 
which many a patient angler takes his stand, must be of great 
age and belong to forest times. But if allowed to grow 
unmolested the alder becomes a handsome tree, and rises to a 
considerable height. I have observed a very large didymous 
alder near Fowick, the two boles joining near the base and 
becoming hollow, but they divide above at a considerable 
angle, forming a very remarkable tree that I should estimate 
at 600 years old, and possibly a greater age, for an alder will 
last as long as any oak. The combined boles of this tree 
exceed ] 7ft. in girth, which is larger than any alder whose 
size is recorded by British dendrologists. 



* The word wern in Celtic signifies dark and gloomy, but was applied to the 
alder as growing in dull and gloomy places. Thus the British name Peng-weme, 
given to Shrewsbury, is said by local writers to have meant the head of the alder- 
groves, as Malvern was the bare hill rising from among alders. Kennet has 
remarked, that Ivemia, or Ibernia (the old name of Ireland), was so called from 
the alders with which the island abounded, vern signifying an alder in the Irish 
dialect. (Parochial Antiquities, p. 684 J The epithet wern appears in the name 
of a stream near Worcester— the La-wem t commonly pronounced Lawrn, —which 
is so profusely crowded with alders on its banks and even spreading across the 
stream, that it might very properly be called the alder brook. An old author 
thus mentions the ancient appearance of the Malvern Hills, which gives the 
exact definition of the original Celtic name fortunately preserved from antient 
days— "In the western part of the district of the Wiccii, where it is divided from 
the county of Hereford, there extends, in a long line, from south to north, the 
Malvern Hills ; their heads being naked and stoney, their sides being here and 
there covered with aider beds. n 



38 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

Willows must have been at all times a characteristic feature, 
shadowing the streams that intersect the Chace, but especially 
remarkable as bordering the river Teme, its northern, boundary, 
where they are very plentiful. The white willow (SalAx 
alba J, is the most abundant tree of this genus, but from its 
fragile nature there are none of any great age, as they are so 
easily upset by winds and storms, and very soon decay and 
become hollow. By the Teme side and along Leigh brook the 
most singular and grotesque shapes appear. Where these 
have been pollarded their heads assume monstrous forms, and 
become receptacles for numerous epiphytes. Hollow willows 
are sometimes preserved and renewed by a root being dropt 
from above down the cavity from the pollarded head, which 
reaching the ground forms a fulcrum for the old tree, and new 
branches are developed from this scion which becomes at 
last a fresh growth when the old shell entirely decays and 
breaks up. Such singular dendroidal forms, dead, hollow, 
and distorted below, yet throwing out from their broken and 
shapeless tops above an array of living shoots with fresh green 
leaves, recals the vivid description of an old English poet as 
to an aged moribund tree, that was 



• "Dry and dead, 



Still clad with reliques of its trophies old, 
Lifting to heaven its aged hoary head 
Whose foot on earth hath cot but feeble hold, 
And half disbowelTd stands above the ground." 

One of the largest willows that I have noted has its hollow 
bole split into two parts, and is 16ft. 6in. girth, with many 
young shoots from the top. This stands by Laughern brook, 
but how old there is no data to determine. 

In a field near Bransford Bridge there is a very curious case 
of two willows having become inosculated, and their arms thus 
united presented a very curious appearance at the time the 
sketch was taken represented in the cut annexed. But 
willows, more than any other tree, are so hacked and despoiled 




Conjoined Willows (Balh alba-h in a Field near 
Bransford Bridge. 



To face page 38. 



r 1 .. 



C ■ L 



THE FOEEST AND CHACE OF MALVEBN. 39 

year after year that they are always changing their appearance, 
while boisterous winds upset them, often giving the rustic the 
advantage of a temporary bridge across a brook, and present- 
ing a picturesque sketch to the artist — 

" Where leans the mossy willow half-way o'er, 
On which the shepherd crawls astride to throw 
His angle, clear of weeds and vagrant flags 
That crowd the water's brim." Clare. 

Such instances come in the way of the wanderer at every 
excursion. It is more curious, perhaps, to perceive the seed- 
ling trees that often get upon an old pollarded willow, and 
dispute vitality with it, at last if not inducing its destruction 
finally taking up the place it occupied, if the roots of the 
intruder can only reach the soil. Seedling hawthorns, yews, 
sycamores, oaks, and various frutescent plants often get upon 
the decaying head of a pollard willow, combining their foliage 
with that of the grey willow with an odd effeot, and so 
deceiving the eye at a little distance. I have noticed a large 
Rhamnw catharticus growing on a willow near Powick, and 
an oak of some size mounted on a willow at Bransford, that was 
evidently breaking up the hollow tree within which it had 
rooted. Willows of large size are rare, and I have not found 
one whose girth exceeded 17ft A fine vigorous Salix 
alba now stands near the Severn below Upton Bridge, of 
considerable size, and may attain large dimensions if left 
untouched in years to come. 

The Hawthorn (Cratoegus OxyacanthaJ, in its natural 
form as a closely- branched tree of no great height, affects the 
sides of hills or open heathy places, and in age the old bole 
often becomes divided at the base. The only part of the 
Malvern Hills where the hawthorn has established itself to 
any extent is in the hollow above the Holy Well, where the 
declivity is whitened in early summer by the fragrant blossoms 
of " the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale," very 
prettily. Some stunted entangled hawthorns here overgrown 



40 THE FOKEST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

with the dingy purple stems of the Jungermannia tcmarisci, 
as well as mosses and hoary lichens, most be of great age — 
perhaps six or seven hundred years — but I can only speak 
with certainty of the section of one hawthorn trunk that I saw, 
where I numbered more than 300 rings of annual growth, and 
the greater number were of larger dimensions than this one. 
In the space at the junction of the road from Madresfield to 
Powick, at the end of "Black-Hawthorn Lane," there stood 
formerly an hawthorn of considerable size and age, for the bole 
was 9ft. in girth — very large dimensions for an hawthorn. 
This memorial tree has been felled, which it need not have 
been, and a young oak has been planted in its place. On the 
hill between the old Powick bridge and Worcester there stood 
within memory an aged thorn called " Prince Robin's tree," it 
being stated and believed that at one of the first skirmishes 
in the Civil Wars of Charles the First s reign, that Prince 
Bupert was stationed at or under this tree when he directed 
the charge that routed the Parliamentary cavalry, and forced 
their immediate retreat and flight This thorn must have been 
of great age, for it finally rotted away, and no remains of it 
now appear upon the spot, but another planted hawthorn 
marks the site. 

There is a fine thorn of considerable size on the estate of 
W. Willis-Bund, Esq., at Upper Wick, not far from the river 
Teme at Powick, and this tree I have understood is mentioned 
as a boundary tree in writings of the property more than 200 
years old. It was then a considerable-sized tree, and may 
now be estimated as probably numbering more than 600 
years. In the vicinity of Knightsford Bridge, on the Teme, 
is a curious instance of the anastomization of a maple and 
hawthorn, both of considerable size, and forming a combined 
mass of foliage. 

Formerly there were various "holy thorns" about the country, 
a variety of the hawthorn that bloomed about Christmas, and 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 4] 

was popularly said to open its blossoms only on old Christmas 
eve. Most of these holy thorns have disappeared, but one 
existed till a late period at Bedmarley Farm, near Acton 
Beauchamp, some five or six miles north of Great Malvern, and 
this is said to have been the resort of hosts of country people 
on Christmas-eve more than a quarter of a century ago. The 
spiteful occupant of the farm at last cut the tree down, being 
annoyed by the visits of so many curious persons, who coming 
from various distances taxed his cider-barrel more than his 
churlish spirit approved.* All these Christmas flowering thorns 
were said to be scions from the original tree, presumed to have 
been planted by St. Joseph of Arimathea, at Glastonbury, after 
his landing from Palestine. 

The Mountain- Ash fPyrus aueupa/riaj, is a native tree, but 
there is but a very scanty sprinkling of it in the copses of the 
Chace, though it abounds more in the western woods, as in 
High Grove, Mathon. This tree presents beautiful masses of 
corymbose flowers in May, but never attains any great size 
or extraordinary age. The largest recorded in this district is 
mentioned in Nash's Worcestershire as growing in the grounds 
at Severn End, in Hanley Castle parish. The dimensions of 
this tree are stated by Nash as "8ft. high to the boughs, 
and the circumference of the body at the height of 8ft. 
from the ground 8ft. 10in., the height of the tree is about 
48ft. Another of nearly equal size may be seen in the plan- 
tations of John Martin, Esq., of Ham Court, near Upton- 
upon-Severn."f The mountain ash has been much planted 
about Malvern and on the declivities above Malvern Wells. 

Another tree to be seen scattered generally singly in woods 
is the Birch (Betvla aXbaJ, distinguished by its slender 



* See the "Pictures of Nature round the Malvern Hills," &c., where the subject 
1st entered upon more in detail. I have seen one of the holy thorns growing in the 
hedge of a garden at Suckley. 

t Nash's Worcest under Hanley Castle, VoL 2, p. 559. 



42 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

dependent branches and smooth silvery bark, which however 
becomes rugged and riven in age. I can refer to no very 
large ones, bat near Acton Beauchamp I have observed a 
grove consisting entirely of birches, some of which exhibited 
a ragged bark, denoting an age going back several hundred 
years. At any rate this is an aboriginal grove, and as such 
may have existed in pre-historic times. Several places take their 
designations from birches, as Birchin Grove, Birchin Hall, Birch 
Wood, &c. This tree occasionally becomes much deformed by 
nodules on its branches, which look like an assemblage of 
birds' nests, and a birch thus strangely distorted stands on 
the Borrow Hill, Martley. Many trees occur in woods of the 
Chace not quite so observable as this, probably arising from 
some obstruction in the circulation of the sap of the tree, or 
the attack of insects* 

The common wild Cherry (Prmus avium J, is now found 
soattered in a bushy form in most of the woods in and abont 
Malvern Chace, especially those of Mathon, Colwall, and 
Cradley, on the Silurian strata, and unquestionably to my 
knowledge the cherry has much increased of late years in 
woods where the coppice is periodically felled, so that its 
flowers in April form a well-marked adornment of the scene. 
If, as stated by Pliny, the cherry was not known in Italy 
until introduced by Lucullus, from Pontus, at the close of the 
Mithridatic war (B.C. 67), and was carried by the Bomans 
into Britain, then this tree now so widely dispersed can only 
be considered as naturalized, and very probably the stones are 
distributed about the country by birds from gardens and 
orchards. That this is no fanciful idea is evident from the 
faot that a little coppioe of cherry trees has been formed on 
the top of the battlements of Newland church, Gloucestershire, 
where only birds could have deposited the stones from which 
they have sprung up. A similar fact has been remarked as to 
the appearance of the cherry in North America. M. le Cante 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 43 

has stated that when beech woods are cat down there, that 
they are speedily replaced by cherry trees. He accounts for 
this remarkable fact on the supposition that birds, who eat 
the fruit with avidity, may have resorted to the woods for 
shelter, and there dropped the stones, which either lay 
dormant, or germinated and remained in a diminutive state 
until the beeohes were cut down, when they advanced rapidly, 
and finally became the principal occupants of the soil. Now 
if the cherry tree has thus become naturalized in Amerioa, 
into which its introduction in modern times is certain, there 
is just ground for the opinion that its extensive diffusion 
through Europe may be attributed to the same cause, and 
that the assertion of the older authors, that it is of Asiatic 
origin, is correct.* Nevertheless though increasing in woods 
as it now does, if cultivated by the Bomans in Britain, the 
birds of those days would soon colonise it, and therefore its 
first introduction among our indigenous trees must have been 
many centuries ago. The cherry will attain a large size if 
unmolested in its plaoe of growth, and I remember a very tall 
and fine tree that stood on the eminence above the quarry of 
Ludlow rock, at the bottom of Purlieu-lane. The bole 
of this tree was about 10ft. in girth, and with its branohes 
drooping from age, was truly an adornment of the scene. It 
was too beautiful to escape from the destroying axe, to which 
it suocumbed some time after 1852, as it was then in 
existence. 

The common Elm (TJlmw campestris or mherosaj, 
though at present a prominent feature observable in the 
hedge-rows of all the midland counties of England, is cer- 
tainly an introduced tree, as is evident from its so seldom 
producing ripened seeds in this country, and it therefore 
spreads and is perpetuated by scions proceeding from the 

* See " The Forest Trees of Britain," by the Rev. C. A. Johns, where this and 
other trees, denizens or natives of Britain, are popularly described. 



44 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

enduring roots. It seems probable that the Eomans when 
established in Britain introduced this tree from Italy, and the 
common appellation elm, appears to be derived from the Latin 
Ulmw. Whenever introduced, it has extended itself wonder- 
frilly in hedgerows, while during the early part of the last 
century it was most extensively planted in avenues.* In 
many oases, also, the custom became common to plant an elm 
singly near farm-houses or in selected spots, and thus it is 
that solitary elms are now found soattered about in various 
places, t old, bare, hollow, and soarred, justifying the language 
that Glare, the rural poet, has applied to a reverend tree of 
this sort — 

" Huge Elm with rifted trunk all notch'd and scared, 
Like to a warrior's destiny." 

An old elm answering to this description stands close to a 
farm-house on the road from Upton-on-Severn to Little 
Malvern, and about a mile and a half from the former town. 
This tree, swollen, hollow, and battered, forms a grand mass 
of foliage worthy the pencil of an artist as a picturesque 
object, though getting into a ruined state, yet sending its 
topmost branches high into air. It is hollow, and as not 
unusual with old elms, swollen about the base, which adds 
to its apparent magnitude. It measures at a yard from the 
base nearly 80ft. in circumference. Not far from this spot is a 
site traditionally called "the Palace," where was probably a 
hunting seat of one of the lords owning the Chace in old 
times. Elms have an early tendenoy to decay, and often look 
older than they really are, and when, as is frequently the case, 

* In the «• Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club for 1868," 
there is an elaborate and most interesting paper by Dr. Bull, of Hereford, on "The 
Elm Tree in Herefordshire," and the learned doctor has certainly with extraordinary 
pains made out a case for his favourite tree, which, however, curiously enough, he 
says old people in Herefordshire call "the Worcester Elm," thus denoting, he 
says, " that the stream of civilization came from this direction." Dr. Bull only 
depicts one elm now existing at Holme Lacy as larger in girth than the Barnard's 
Green Elm, but its appearance is much less imposing than the latter tree. 

t Elms were also planted in clumps occasionally, on waste land, as "the 
Harbour Elms," at Forthampton, so called from a former but now disused practice 
of forming festal harbours under trees at Whitsuntide. 




w**^^ 



The Friar's Elm (Ulmm mberosa), on Barnard's Green, near 
Great Malvern. ! 



To face page 45. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OP MALVERN. 45 

swollen and wenny about their bases, or bleached where the 
bark has been stripped off, they become frightfully phantasmio 
objects. 

The Barnard's Green or Friar's Elm, is an old, partially 
hollow, and very picturesque-looking tree, now standing on 
the side of the common by the road from Great Malvern to 
the Bhydd and Upton. Its roots extend spoke-like some 
distance round the elm, which is swollen and tempest-battered, 
but it still presents a pictorial aspect, as the wood engraving 
on the opposite page will render fully evident. It measures 
45ft. round the base, and 25ft. in girth at 3ft. from the 
ground. To this winter-battered tree the lines of Gowper 
may be well applied : — 

" Time hath made me hollow, and a cave 

Fox owls to roost in 1— 

» # ♦ » * 

Embowell'd now, and of thy antient self 
Possessing nought but the scoop'd rind that seems 
A huge throat calling to the clouds for drink." 

As this elm on Barnard's Green has been preserved with 
honour as a memorial if not a gospel tree, and is still 
honoured with an inscription placed among its branches, it 
is probable that antient as it looks and battered and hollow 
as it is, it was planted as much as three hundred years ago, 
for assuredly its appearance has been much the same for the 
last half-century* and perhaps for a whole one. This com- 
putation would take us to some time in the 1 6th century, 
before the disafforestation of the Chace. A few years since, 
as I have heard, a mandate went forth for the destruction of 
this antient inhabitant of the common, but the Hama-Dryact 
of the tree influenced a neighbouring gentleman to contest 
the point, and a band of sylvans hurried to the rescue. By 
negociation the sentence of death was reversed, and a treaty 
ratified securing to the old elm its life interest in the green 
common it had so long shadowed, subject only to a quit- 
rent to the merciless winds. The elms are generally lopped 



46 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

too much in Worcestershire, so that they become tall and 
lanky, and often strangely swollen about their bases, while 
when the lopping process is too long continued they become 
black and distorted, like relics of a forest conflagration — 

" For huge fantastic forms, gnarl'd, old, and gray, 
Assunvd the Heath-hag form in that dim scene." 

An elm of this description, of which I took a sketch some 
years ago, stood in a field at Powick, not far from the Teme, 
putting on the grotesque aspect depicted in the annexed wood- 
cut. The lopping system induces to such appearances — bare, 
haggard, and monstrous. Once however planted in a hedge, 
the elm produces scions from the root, however it may be 
lopped and hacked, living on though in a dwarf and deformed 
state. It used to be a favourite for avenues, but the fragrant 
flowers of the lime and its quicker growth render the latter 
more to be preferred as an avenue tree. 

By brook sides a few specimens of the indigenous Black 
Poplar (PopulMS nigraj, may be met with here and there, 
similarly lopped, like the elm, and very scraggy-looking ; but 
these old British poplars are gradually disappearing, and the 
Italian black poplar, now so much planted, takes their place, 
known by the masses of mistletoe that very soon load its 
branches, while no mistletoe ever appears on the indigenous 
poplars. This is a circumstance evident in a multitude of 
places. Some very tall Black Poplars where rooks have for 
many years made their congregated nests, stand on the western 
or right bank of the Severn, at the Upper and Lower Lodes 
opposite to Tewkesbury, but these are planted trees, though of 
considerable age. 

There are other trees and shrubs forming the underwood and 
bushes about the Chace, such as Dogwood (Coram sangui- 
ned J, Hazel fCorylm avellanaj, Spindle-tree (Euonymus 
Ev/ropcewJ, Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticusj, Sloe (IPrmw 
spinosaj, Guelder-rose (Vihwrnvm Lantana and OpulusJ, 



ggS^- 




Battered Pollard Elm (Ulmus suberosa), in a Field 

AT POWICK, NEAR THE TEME. 



To face page 46. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 47 

&c., but as none of these attain any great size, and are too 
often cut down to attain any extended age, detailed remarks 
are unnecessary. With respect to Ivy (Hedera Helix J, 
however, lowly as its growth generally appears, yet when it 
does get firm hold upon a tree, it assumes an arborescent 
trunk, which becomes almost as large as the tree about 
which the treacherous ivy has spread its snake-like arms. 
I have noticed trees which the ivy has completely invested 
and overpowered, making individuals that permitted its first 
advances quite subsidiary to its own growth and spread of 
frondescence. An ash tree near Beauchamp's Court, I have 
noticed as thus circumstanced, and the yew in Purlieu-lane, 
leading to Mathon, is so entwined to the very extremity of 
its branches that it has become almost as much an ivy tree 
as a yew. The ivy that invests the Ivy-scar rock on the 
North Hill, must from the name given to it have been there 
for centuries ; while in still more secluded spots like the wood- 
invested Bosebury rock by the Teme, near Knightsford Bridge, 
there are broad ivy stems that have quietly increased their 
huge bulk for many centuries, and may claim a very remote 
antiquity only to be guessed at. 

There is, however, one domesticated tree, the Elder (Sam- 
hucus nigra), that deserves notice, as from some cause dating 
from old times, it has been planted near almost every home- 
stead in the country, and often in churchyards near the yew, 
and thus Shakspeare has alluded to it, and the somewhat 
unpleasant scent of its leaves — 

"The stinking Elder-grief." 

This allusion shows why it has got into churchyards, but 
its various medicinal properties caused it to be nourished 
near houses, for as Borlase says in his History of Cornwall, 
"the medicinal use of its several parts is extraordinary, its 
leaves, buds, blossoms, berries, pith, wood, and bark, have 
more virtues than can possibly have room here without 



48 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

entering into too minute detail." It most have been an 
early introduction into Britain, and some protective power 
appears to have been attached to it, which caused the elder 
to be generally planted in former times close to houses, and 
the custom is of high antiquity. That the elder is yet in 
some degree considered a safeguard to those who live near 
to its shade, or was so considered in not very remote times, 
appears from what a contributor to the Athen&wm says* 
writing as late as 1846: — "The virtues of the elder tree 
in preserving men and cattle from witches is well known. 
In Devonshire farmers put a green twig of it in the staples 
of their stable doors, thus to keep out all unnatural in- 
truders." Whether in olden times there really was more 
demoniacal influence at work in the world than at present, or 
it was only imagined so, still it was generally believed that some 
malignant influence was ever ready to assail a man at every 
turn he took, and which could only be averted by some 
counteracting remedy. As plants and trees lay conveniently 
at hand, or could be made to grow at every one's threshold, 
they were oalled in to do the best they could against the 
enemy. It was perhaps well to be on the safe side, and if 
spiritual foes oan really be kept at bay by a plant or a 
stick, it may be right to use the cudgels accordingly, or 
have them at hand for that purpose. As the elder has 
been so long the guardian of houses, of course there are 
many fine flowering as well as old decayed trees dispersed 
over the country, and I have notes as to several old trees, 
but they never reach any remarkable bulk, though long 
enduring in a hollow and decaying state, and so surviving 
for centuries. Some remain that may be considered more 
than 500 years old, but these are all near houses, and it is 
very uncommon in woods, and conveyed there probably by 
birds, just as one has been thus planted on the tower of 
Castle Morton Church. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 49 

Numerous as orchards of Apple and Pear now are all 
over the country, between the Malvern Hills and the Severn, 
as well as in Herefordshire, it would be neglectful not to 
allude to such a prominent feature of the country now, 
though in the early days of the Ohace there would be none 
except those close to habitations. The Grab {Pyrw mains J, 
and the wild thorny Pear (Pyrus communis J, may still be found 
sparsely distributed in coppices, but our orchards of improved 
fruit most probably came from the Continent. Whether 
some were planted by the first Saxon settlers may be un- 
certain, but orchards of the apple and pear were extended 
no doubt at a later date when the Normans came in. 
However that may be, the cultivation of the pear had 
become so general in Worcestershire by the beginning of the 
15th century that Michael Drayton, in his description of 
the English army that fought at Agincourt under Henry V., 
says that the banner of the Worcestershire men was — 

" A Pear-tree laden with its fruit" 

The pear orchards must therefore have been in existence 

some time before the reign of Henry V. for Worcestershire 

to have been characterised by its pear-trees, and Camden 

in his "Britannia" refers to the fruit trees of Worcestershire 

as a remarkable feature of the county demanding special 

notice. In the poem of Piers the Ploughman, supposed to, 

have been written by a monk of Great Malvern Priory, in the 

latter part of the 14th century, he thus alludes to the apple : — 

'* I preid Piers tho to pulle-a-down 
An appul, and he wolde, 
And suffire me to assaien (try) 
What savour it hadde." 

This, no doubt, was from an apple tree in an orchard. But 
neither apple or pear trees, being both in an artificial cul- 
tivated state, and grafted from some educated variety, have 
the endurance of a forest tree, and sooner decay and die out. 



50 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

One of the finest pear orchards in the Malvern district is that 
known as the Barland Pear Orchard, by the side of the 
road between Fowick and Newland, numbering more than 
seventy tall trees, and which in a " hit" year, as it is called, 
has produced two hundred hogsheads of perry.* Here has 
been a celebrated orchard above a century, and looking at the 
size of the trees, old as they are now, it is probable that they 
have been in existence about 250 years, and their glory being 
now past, it may be, I think, a probable calculation that an 
orchard will wear out within 300 years.f If this be so, there 
can be few pear trees now standing older than this, the more 
ancient orchards having been replaced. Nevertheless in full 
maturity the pear tree almost rivals the oak in majestic 
aspect and ruggedness of bark, though not attaining the 
bulk or spread of boughs of the king of the forest. Many 
grand and lofty pear trees might be referred to besides those 
of the Barland Orchard before mentioned, and I have met 
with several 14ft. and 1 5ft. in girth at a yard from the 
ground, and these would be doubtless as much as 250 years 
old. The largest pear tree that I have found any account of 

* This would be a profitable produce for a farmer if a "hit" occured every year, 
but as this is an exceptional case, pears like hops are a very variable crop, and I 
fcave been informed that in an ungenial flowering year this same orchard has only 
produced three hogsheads, which is a wide difference. It is also obvious that when 
* " hit" occurs, the price of perry would be much reduced from the glut in the 
market, while casks would be wanted to hold the superabundant drink. In such 
overflowing years I have been told that a large tub filled with cider or perry has 
been placed in a farmer's fold-yard open to all comers to imbibe any quantity they 
pleased. 

+ Mr. Thomas Andrew Knight states in his " Pomona Herefordiensis," that 
M The Barland Pear appears to have been extensively cultivated in Herefordshire 
(«nd probably in Worcestershire also) prior to the publication of Evelyn's Pomona 
in 1674, in which it is very frequently mentioned, and as no trees of this variety are 
found in decay from age, in favourable soils, it must be concluded that the identical 
trees which were growing when Evelyn wrote still remain in health and vigour. " This 
wag penned in 1811, and supposing the Barland Orchard to have been planted some 
time prior to 1674, the trees would now have been in existence more than 200 years, 
and as they now appear aged, they can scarcely be expected to last another hundred 
yean as profitable fruit-bearing trees. Mr. Knight further says that " the original 
tree grew in a field called the Bare Lands, whence the variety obtained its name, 
in the parish of Bosbury, and was blown down a few years ago."— Knight, " Pom. 
Hertfr under XXV1L " The Borland Pear." 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 51 

is one that stood on a pieoe of land given by the Hon. and 
Rev. George Rushout Bowles, a few years since, to build 
the Tenbury Union Workhouse upon. This, it is stated, 
was 22ft. in girth, reaching to the height of 105ft., and 
its boughs extended over a circuit of nearly 100 yards. 
A pear tree in an orchard near Madresfield has a bole of 
nearly 18ft in girth, and if permitted to stand may in a 
few years equal the dimensions of the Tenbury tree. 

Apple orchards are not so enduring as those of the pear, 
one reason of which may be that they are more liable to the 
attacks of the "baleful mistletoe," and in time, from neglect, 
put on a very rueful look, though the Herefordshire orchards 
suffer most in this respect.* The apple tree also is much 
more liable to be upset by boisterous gales,f and in almost 
every orchard some trees will be found thus thrown upon 
their knees, or half rooted up, while the indifferent farmer 
suffers them to remain in this state, and so they continue. 

The apple tree never reaches the height or bulk of the 
pear, though I have observed in pastures at Mathon old 
apple trees hollow and curiously tortuous in their boles, 



* See the "Botanical Looker-out in England and Wales," 8vo., under January, 
for a full account of the mistletoe, and the trees in Worcestershire and the adjacent 
counties on which it has been found. I had an idea that " except existing in 
excess," the mistletoe was not injurious to the trees on which it fixes itself, and 
where a bush depends at the extremity of a branch, as it often does upon black 
poplars, it cannot do much harm. But in orchards it doubtless increases too much 
for the good of the trees, and Professor Buckman in a paper on the subject has 
intimated that its effect is to stimulate the sap, so that apple trees will bear earlier 
and become in a state of decrepitude sooner with mistletoe upon them than without 
it. Whether from superstition or carelessness, the apple orchards of Herefordshire 
especially are suffered to bear loads of mistletoe, and it may be well for the 
negligent farmer that Christmas demands an enormous supply of the mirth- 
inspiring plant Dr. Bull has almost exhausted the history of the mistletoe in the 
Transactions of the Woolhope Club. 

+ Fierce winds, from the west or south-west, are often destructive to orchards, 
and most apple orchards have trees in them leaning from the blustering weather 
quarter ; but though the apple is the greatest sufferer, the pear tree is not exempt, 
for when I was resident at Forthampton in the winter of 1838-39, a hurricane upset 
five pear trees in an orchard in my occupation, destroying my hope of fruit for the 
next season, and the same blast despoiled and nearly ruined the ancient yew in 
Forthampton churchyard. 



52 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

whose antiquity might possibly reach beyond 300 years * 
Orchard plantations have doubtless much increased since the 
disafforestation of the Ghace ; and now, especially when in full 
flower in the spring, they make a beauteous feature in the 
landscape that cannot fail to excite the admiration of every 
observer. As Cottle has said — 

— "Orchards with their odoriferous breath 
Perfume the air, and to the sight present 
One sheet of blossoms ; the beholder's eye 
Revels at once in unconstrain'd delight" 

But the nearer prospect of flowering trees is undoubtedly the 
most alluring, while in autumn the red apple, "red as 
evening sky/' presents a picture charming as well to the 
spectator as the gatherer and grower of the fruits. Cider and 
perry is now the common drink of the farm labourer in 
Worcestershire and Herefordshire, whatever it was in the 
olden days of the Forest, and at harvest time there is no stint 
of it, the claim of each labourer to his stipulated dozen or 
more quarts per diem being never abated, but added to if 
possible. The amount of " drink," commonly so called, that 
is cider and perry, consumed in a year upon a large liquor- 
producing farm, is hardly to be credited. A farmer residing 
on the borders of Herefordshire and Shropshire, the taste of 
whose best produce I enjoyed in the summer of 1868, told 
me that in a good year he made fully 800 hogsheads of liquor 
from his orchards, and the greater part was consumed by 
his labourers and family. 

* That apple orchards were in existence in Saxon times, and probably earlier, is 
evident from their mention in Charters of Saxon wording yet extant " The Haran 
(or hoary) Apel-tree," is noticed in Heming's " Cartulary," when referring to the 
boundaries of Wyke, Worcestershire. This was Wick Episcopi, near Powick, and 
Mr. Allies sayB (Antiq. Worcest., p. 389,) that " the apple tree stood near where 
the Teme joins the Severn." It must have been an old tree then to have been 
written down by the Saxon surveyor as " haran," or hoary ; and in the present day 
old apple trees in decay have their trunks whitened and their arms bearded and 
made grey by an overgrowth of lichens, erroneously termed mosses by poets, as 
instanced in Southey's lines— 

"A wrinkled crabb-ed man they picture thee, 
Old Winter I with a rugged beard as grey 
As the long moss upon the apple tree." 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OP MALVERN. 53 

peJ toee°s be 0bSerVed that fchou S h Ae orchards of apple and 
lands f ^ n0W S ° extensivel y occupying the former waste 

product! ° haCe ' m *" 9mfied trees ' and S0 ° f manS 

and th e ° n ^ eduCation ' ? et both &* crab ^V™ mains J, 
found common 'pear (Pyrw* communis), are now to be 

it should h 6 ^^ t * lere m almost evei 7 W00 ^ » but 

state d ** ote(i *h^t the latter is seldom found in a flowering 

matur d ia* 6 p 0111 ^ ru ^ t °' tbe crab * s common enough, 
howev / ^ ^ ar *fae seldom or never observed. Mr. Allies, 
called "Th n ^f Worcester), mentions a spot at Alfrick, 
wild W ^ ear ^°PP* ce > ^ om ^ e numerous thorny 

within it. 
no means enumerated all the old and curious 
forms of battered and grotesque trees that might 
2 secluded spots within the limits of the ancient 
Malvern, for the subject could not be easily 
'sted in detail, and as years roll on other trees not at 
nt very remarkable, will be progressing into veterans 
study and examination of lovers of woodland scenery 
years to come. Those I have recorded may then be 
ompared with the dimensions now assigned them, or if 
they shall have passed away here will be their memorial. 
Change is ever progressing, and whatever may be thought 
of the ages of the past, notwithstanding the things that 
pseudo-interpreters of prophecy may say as to the day of 
doom, I consider that "this great globe and all that it 
inherit," — or their successors, will not "dissolve" quite so 
soon as the writers alluded to have suggested, and that 
ages to come may be safely counted on when various 
objects now comparatively juvenile will have passed into the 
category of age. To our successors, then, the legacy of 
observation and record is bequeathed, to mark and set down 
what is curious in their day, as done here for their example. 
The history of the settlement of the Ohace from the 



prea 



54 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

earliest Forest times to the present day might form the 
subject of an interesting paper, but can at present only be 
glanced at. Who were the people whose chieftain was buried 
on the summit of the Worcestershire Beacon, and whose rude 
earthenware cup was found with his bones by the ordnance 
surveyors some few years agof*"" - No\answer can be given to 
this question, and we only know thai the Britons of post- 
Romano times were chased from the 'Malvern country into 
Wales by the Saxons under King Atb^lstan. Then came 
the division of the Forest into parishes, etni the erection of 
small churches by the Saxon thanes or 3^ orman soldiers, 
who obtained grants of certain portions of fcand. Cottages 
for labourers would have to be erected, and waen the Earls 
of Gloucester became seated at Hanley, theSr verdurers, 
retainers, and workmen would have to be accouaniodated 
with houses for their families. Assart land was tfttiltivated 
within the forest, and accommodation for men and\ horses 
as well as oxen required, and by degrees tenant^ rose 
to some degree of freedom as cultivation progressed, 
the rights of common arose to those who origin^ty 
held only of the lord and did him suit and servic 
Going on at the same time were ecclesiastical claimsV 
and as before noticed, even an Earl could not make a 1 
boundary to his hunting grounds without license from the 
church. Priors obtained grants of land to support their 
establishments, and on the lands thus obtained men under 
various names would have to be placed to do rural work 

* As future enquiry may be made as to this ancient British cup, and the bones 
among which it was found, it may be well to refer to the detailed account given in 
Mr. Jabez Allies's "British, Roman, and Saxon Antiquities of Worcestershire," 
8vo, pp. 165-6, where there is an accurate engraving of the cup. It still remains 
in my possession (1870), but the fragmentary bones found with the cup, which had 
been subjected to cremation, and were undoubtedly human, were entrusted to Dr. 
Grindrod, of Townsend House, Malvern, to take for exhibition to London, and the 
doctor having, as he states, mislaid the bones, they are at present disunited from 
the cup, which they ought not to be. Shakspeare or his executors caused a 
denunciation to be penned against anyone moving his bones, and perhaps Caradoc, 
or whatever Briton it was who was laid to rest on the Beacon, may some day rise up 
to reclaim the relics which the doctor has unwarily stowed away. 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 55 

and gather in the crops, and barns be erected to store them. 
More proprietors at length appeared, mills were wanted for 
grinding corn, and granaries to stow it in, and thus population 
increased, and certain rights were gained by long usage. An 
irregular period must have followed the confiscation of the 
Warwick property under semblance of law to the Crown ; 
and no doubt in the interval between the acquisition of the 
Ghace by Henry VII. and the sale of the rights of the 
Grown by Charles I., all sorts of pillage had been going on, 
squatters had got upon the waste soil, and commoners had 
made havoc with the timber. Thus when the Chace was 
proposed to be enclosed, a population had arisen sufficient 
to make a riot; and to "quiet the country" thus roused into 
rebellion, the King, though nominally lord of the soil of 
the whole Chace, yet agreed to relinquish two-thirds to the 
commoners. The deer that had been so long under the 
cognizance of the foresters and verdurers, were then no 
doubt hunted down and killed, or if any lingered on in 
hazel copses or ferny hollows, they would be soon found out, 
the neighbourhood be quickly roused, and — 

44 This day a stag must die," 

would be uttered by all the lusty yeomen and commoners that 
by the sound of the yet unforgotten horn could be assembled 
together for a sport soon to be entirely done away with in the 
Chace. Or perchance caitiff prowlers might spy the horns 
of some hart protruding from a thicket of brambles, and 
watching the place slaughter the poor animal as the dusk 
of evening set in, ready enough to kill their quarry, though 
not with the moralising humanity of the ducal hunter in 
the Forest of Arden, as intimated by Shakspeare — 

" Gome, shall we go and kill us venison f 
And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools, 
Being native burghers of this desert city, 
Should in their own confines, with forked arrows, 
Have their round haunches gor'd." 



I 



56 THE FOBEST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

Daring the lawless and unsettled times of the Civil Wars, when 
Boyalists and Parliamentarians contended with each other, 
the last of the deer were doubtless destroyed. By the terms 
of the decree by which Malvern Chace was disafforested (and 
confirmed by Act of Parliament, 16th of Charles II.), the 
"other two-thirds" that the King gave up was "to be for 
ever left open and free for the commoners to take their 
common of pasture, and common of estovers therein, as before 
they had been accustomed; and that no mean lords of manors, 
or other freeholders, should enclose any part of the same, 
or fell any woods or trees growing thereon, whereby the 
commons might be hindered of their estovers." Nevertheless 
this provision as to reserved woods and trees was so little 
attended to, that at the close of the last century, and to a 
considerable extent after the beginning of the present, it 
might truly have been said — 

"A vast and naked plain extends to view, 
Where trees unnumber'd in past ages grew, 
The green retreat of wood-nymphs— but each oak 
Long since has yielded to the woodman's stroke." 

For Hanley Castle parish was enclosed under a Special 
Enclosure Act, and Welland and Longdon have since taken 
advantage of the General Enclosure Act, so that the "naked 
plain" of the past forest times has become something like a 
surveyor's map by the numerous fields into which it has 
been divided. But independent of this legal enclosure of 
the Chace, systematic encroachments have taken place in 
modern times certainly not in accordance with the letter 
and spirit of the decree by which the Chace was disafforested, 
and inimical to the rights of the commoners in general 
had they contended for them, since by the decree "no 
mean lords of manors or other freeholders should enclose 
any part of the same, or fell any woods or trees growing 
thereon." It is only in general terms that "mean lords of 
manors" are mentioned, and none are recognised as having 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 57 

rights superior to those of any other commoners. However, 
it is to the advantage of the general public and the increase 
of Great Malvern from a village to a town, that the decree 
has been by the commoners left to be inoperative, and thus 
the waste has been encroached upon, and villas built on all sides, 
chiefly under leases granted by manorial pretension or colour 
of right to do so. Thus the Ohace has been rapidly 
narrowed, an increased and increasing population has covered 
the ground, and fanciful structures have so quickly risen 
up since Dr. Wilson brought in the water system, and 
Dr. Gully enlarged it, that only in the lessened 
green expanse called Malvern Common, and the undu- 
lating waste between Great Malvern and the Link, the Ghace 
except in name has almost ceased to exist.* The great iron 
lines of modern progress now intersect the Ghace between 
Worcester and Malvern and between Malvern and Upton- 
upon-Severn, everywhere new houses are rising up, and the 
thatched cottages of olden days only remain in some out-of- 
the-way nook like the withered stalk of a plant from which 
vitality has departed. Still, however, it may be hoped that 
every green lane and open common will not be appropriated, 
that a few green slopes may be left around Great Malvern, 
and the beauteous hills at any rate remain in the grassy 
and mossy investiture they have derived from the careless 
but graceful hand of Nature. 



* The Old or more properly Wold Hills, undulating turfy heights intervening 
between Powick and Hanley, on the road to Upton-on-Sevem, are also as yet 
unenclosed, and pleasingly break the level country between the Malvern range and 
the Severn. They consist of Keiiper marl with a slight gravelly covering in places, 
and are elevated about 350 feet above the Severn. They were probably bare of 
wood in forest times, but are now tufted with planted firs and other trees, 
while their sides are overgrown with gorse (Ulex Europceus), most probably of late 
introduction. 



58 THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

^frblttbttttt, — Lime Trees, Sec. — Since the account of 
the Brownsend and other Lime trees at Bromsberrow was 
sent to press, I have received a letter from the Rev. R. P. 
Hill, the assiduous and worthy hon. secretary to the Malvern 
Field Club, in answer to my inquiries as to the trees, but 
no very specific information is attainable. He says — "I 
have inquired of every one likely to tell me, but cannot get 
any information as to when or by whom the various lime 
trees were planted. I have heard they were planted as mile- 
posts from the North-East end of Bromsberrow to Newent. 
Certainly a tree is standing at the North-East boundary of 
Bromsberrow, which a few years ago was in the open road (it 
is now enclosed.) From this tree to the Brownsend Lime is 
about a mile, and from the Brownsend to Hancock's, the 
blacksmith's, where there is also a lime tree, is about another 
mile. From Hancock's to the Byton lime tree a mile further 
on is marked, and from thence to Newent is about four miles, 
and in this interval two trees are now wanting ; but a mile 
before reaching Newent there is another lime tree, still stand- 
ing. One is said also to have formerly stood at Bottom Green, 
two miles from Newent" This idea of mile-trees is a very 
good one, though I am not aware where else it has been 
followed, but that there should be no remembrance when or 
by whom this planting of lime trees to mark the distance to 
the traveller occulted, is rather strange. Mr. Hill further 
states, that the field in which the great inosculated limes 
stand, previously mentioned, and of which a wood-cut is given, 
is in the parish of Bromsberrow, and belonging to Osman 
Ricardo, Esq., of Bromsberrow Court ; so that as these large 
limes must have been planted by some former possessor of 
Bromsberrow, it seems probable that the mile-trees were also 
designed by the same lover of arboriculture. Had former 
rectors of Bromsberrow written the natural history of their 
parish like White of Selborne, the date of the planting of these 



THE FOREST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 59 

lime trees might have been known, as well as other curious 
matters, while as it is conjecture can only be employed. Sir 
James Smith, in his "English Flora," intimates that the French 
adopted the lime for ornamental plantations in the reign of 
Louis XIV. "It generally composes," he says, " the avenues 
about the residences of the French as well as English gentry 
of that date, and Fenelon, in conformity to this taste, decorates 
with flowery lime trees his enchanted Isle of Calypso." 
The lime, it must be observed, is a fast-growing tree, and 
therefore attains a large size much quicker than an oak, or 
even an elm. The taste for lime-tree planting came in 
with William III., and the Brownsend lime, if planted in 
his reign, cannot be quite 200 years old. The larger trees 
at Bromsberrow that have inosculated are probably of 
older date, but a very large lime tree in Switzerland, known 
to have been planted after the battle of Morat, does not much 
exceed an age of four centuries. The mere size of a tree 
independent of its constitution and the soil and aspect 
where it grows is no test of its age, and I have known 
elms of great size when examined by their annual rings 
of growth to be much younger than they were supposed 
to be. I have examined felled yew trees of a century old that 
were less than a foot in diameter, while elms and limes 
of the same age would be more than double that bulk. 
Great mistakes may therefore be made as to the age of trees 
unless a section can be obtained of either the tree itself or 
one approximately of the same size and appearance in a 
similar soil. But hollow trees of great size and age, known 
either as boundary or gospel trees, and thus remembered 
from generation to generation by some familiar name, there 
can be no mistake about. These seen by the young, and 
discoursed about by the old, dwell in the memory, and carry 
the mind back to former times and customs that have passed 
away hundreds of years, and still the eye of the present 



Q2 THE FOEEST AND CHACE OF MALVERN. 

Bushley, was church property before King Edward I. assigned 
the Forest of Malvern to Earl Gilbert de Clare. The state- 
ment of Hemingus shows the superstitious devotion then 
commonly practised to ensure, as it was thought, a safe 
position in the eternal world. In the reign of William the 
Conqueror, a knightly landed proprietor, who probably for his 
military services had obtained a grant of Fendock from the 
Crown, for his name is said to have been Normmnus or 
Norman, offered his lands in Pendock, which appear to have 
comprised the whole parish, at the altar of St. Mary's in 
Worcester, together with his son, to serve God perpetually 
in monastic discipline. Hemingus says that Fendock had 
formerly been in possession of the monastery, but had been 
taken away, and Norman having become possessed of it, felt 
it his duty to restore it. 

"Manor of Great Malvern." — Dr. Nash has asserted 
that while the Chace was in possession of the Crown, Queen 
Elizabeth made a grant of the Manor of Great Malvern to Sir 
Thomas Bromley, Chancellor of England, whose representative 
sold it to Thomas, Lord Foley, about 1740; and Lady Emily 
Foley is the present " Lady of the Manor." But in the decree 
of disafforestation, no reservation is made of any manorial 
claims, and the right in the waste land of the Chace which by 
the Act of Charles II. was never to be enclosed, rests with the 
freeholders and commoners generally. 

With regard to the representations of remarkable trees 
delineated, they have been all carefully drawn on the wood 
from original faithful sketches, and in this my friend Professor 
Buckman (formerly of the Boyal Agricultural College, now of 
Bradford- Abbas, Dorset, and an hon. member of the Club), 
ever zealous in the cause of every department of Natural 
History, has kindly and efficiently given me his welcome aid. 



WORCESTER : 
PRINTED BT HOLL AND DARKE, HERALD OFFICE, 72, HIGH-STREET, WORCESTER. 



FINAL DENDROLOGICAL NOTE. 



Landed proprietors and occupiers of land are so continually felling 
timber, or hacking Pollard trees, that the arboreal features of a 
country are every year changing, and sometimes woods are entirely 
grubbed up. Thus it is that old memorial trees that had continued 
land-marks for ages are removed from the scene, and memory is left 
at fault. Two of the trees depicted in this paper, the old Elm at 
Powick, and the conjoined Willows at Bransford, have been destroyed. 
Willows, indeed, unless reduced to stumps, have little chance of a 
protracted existence, being so easily upset by furious gales of wind ; 
and this is also the case with Apple trees in orchards, that are often 
thrown upon their knees and seldom maintain a long life, though 
some old native Crabs, unvalued and uncared for, may be found in 
secluded spots. 

The Tew and the Oak take the first rank as long-enduring trees, 
and the Holly may equal them in longevity, though no very large 
ones occur in the Malvern woods. Many old Maples exist in the 
Malvern country, for it is a tree seldom felled, though hacked in 
pollard ugliness by the farmer without remorse. The Wytch Elm 
when unlopped is a beautiful tree, and if unmolested would maintain 
its position for centuries ; but by hacking a monstrous head is 
produced, and if in the hedgerow it is at last upset. But few very 
old Ash trees remain in the Chace, for the Ash more than any other 
tree is attacked by boring insects, and thus becomes in a rotten state, 
and dies. 

It is deserving of notice that on the banks of many of the streams 
that water the country once included in the Malvern Chace, there are 
old battered Pollard trees of the indigenous Black Poplar (Populus 
nigra), which seems to be worn out, as no young trees are any where 
apparent, though the Italian Black Poplar flourishes wherever it is 
planted. Very few trees of the Service (Pyrus torminalis) now remain 
of any size, and its growth is so slow that though it occurs sparingly 
in most of the woods the trees are very slender, yet when of consider- 
able age it is a handsome tree, and its numerous white corymbose 
flowers are very ornamental. 

The Sycamore being a late introduction has no very large trees to 
show, and neither the Beech or the Hornbeam are native to Malvern 
Chace or any part of Worcestershire. 

August, 1877. 



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